Entertainment

Celebrities join locals at protest to stop Netflix’s Byron Baes reality show

A handful of Byron Bay locals staged a ‘paddle-out protest’ on Tuesday to demand Netflix cancel their upcoming reality series about influencers in the coastal town. 

Former tennis champion Pat Rafter and TV presenter Carissa Walford were among the protestors, despite not being born in the Bay.

Carissa, 33, hails from Sydney, while Pat, 48, was born in Mount Isa, Queensland.

Stylish: Carissa showed off her midriff in a pair of pants and a long-sleeved top

Activists: Former tennis champion Pat Rafter (left) and TV presenter Carissa Walford (right) joined Byron Bay locals to protest Netflix’s new reality show about the coastal town

However, both stars appear to have relocated to Byron Bay in recent years.

Carissa, who was living in a stylish apartment in Sydney’s Northern Beaches as recently as 2019, now fills her Instagram feed with selfies taken at various Byron hotspots.

Meanwhile, Pat owns a sprawling rural property in Broken Head, right near Chris Hemsworth’s $20million mega mansion.

He also owns an investment property in Tweed Heads West, which is less than an hour from Byron Bay.

Where are they from? Carissa, 33, hails from Sydney, while Pat, 48, was born in Mount Isa, Queensland

Where are they from? Carissa, 33, hails from Sydney, while Pat, 48, was born in Mount Isa, Queensland

Following the crowd: Pat and Carissa both joined Byron Bay locals for the paddle-out protest against the new Netflix reality series

Following the crowd: Pat and Carissa both joined Byron Bay locals for the paddle-out protest against the new Netflix reality series

Pat and Carissa both joined Byron Bay locals for the paddle-out protest against the new Netflix reality series.

Others, who chose not to participate in the paddling, simply displayed placards that read ‘give Netflix the flick’ and ‘consult traditional owners’. 

Ben Gordon, owner of The Byron Bay General Store, led calls to snub the Netflix production – and is asking other local businesses to do the same.

Relocated: Queensland-born Pat owns a sprawling rural property in Broken Head, right near Chris Hemsworth's $20million mega mansion

Real estate: He also owns an investment property in Tweed Heads West, which is less than an hour from Byron Bay

Relocated: Queensland-born Pat owns a sprawling rural property in Broken Head, right near Chris Hemsworth’s $20million mega mansion

Influential: Carissa, who was living in a stylish apartment in Sydney's Northern Beaches as recently as 2019, now fills her Instagram feed with selfies taken at various Byron hotspots

Influential: Carissa, who was living in a stylish apartment in Sydney’s Northern Beaches as recently as 2019, now fills her Instagram feed with selfies taken at various Byron hotspots

‘They’ve simply turned up unannounced and they are proposing to drag our name through the mud, and make millions of dollars without offering anything back to the community,’ he told Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon on Tuesday.

Mr Gordon said the prospective reality series is ‘a complete misrepresentation of who we are as a community’.

‘Today, what we’ve seen, is the real Byron, the community coming together for issues that we believe in,’ he said.

Healthy: Former TV host Carissa is now a yoga teacher and life coach in Byron Bay

Healthy: Former TV host Carissa is now a yoga teacher and life coach in Byron Bay

Surf's up! Carissa clung to a surf board before entering the ocean

Surf’s up! Carissa clung to a surf board before entering the ocean

Protest: Others, who chose not to participate in the paddling, simply displayed placards that read 'give Netflix the flick' and 'consult traditional owners'

Protest: Others, who chose not to participate in the paddling, simply displayed placards that read ‘give Netflix the flick’ and ‘consult traditional owners’

Making a statement: Pat looked serious as he headed into the surf with his board

Making a statement: Pat looked serious as he headed into the surf with his board 

‘What they’re proposing is manufactured drama, gossip and bickering about how many likes we have on Instagram. There’s no one in the show that’s actually from Byron.

‘They’re simply trying to use our name and image for profit, and it’s not hard to see why we are upset about this.’

There are now more than 7,000 signatures on a petition named ‘Boycott Byron Baes’ – but the Netflix series is seemingly undeterred by the campaign. 

Leave our town alone! Despite not being from Byron Bay originally, Pat and Carissa decided to take a stand against the Netflix show

Leave our town alone! Despite not being from Byron Bay originally, Pat and Carissa decided to take a stand against the Netflix show 

Brave: The celebrity pair headed into the ocean as part of the paddle-out protest

Brave: The celebrity pair headed into the ocean as part of the paddle-out protest 

A press release for the program describes Byron Baes as a ‘docu-soap series’ and calls it ‘our love letter to Byron Bay’ that will also offer audience ‘fights, flings and heartbreak’.

It continues: ‘It’s not just Chris [Hemsworth] and Zac [Efron]’s backyard; it’s the playground of more celebrity-adjacent influencers than you can poke a selfie-stick at.’

Some of the rumoured cast members for Byron Baes include former Love Island hunk Elias Chigros and Zac Efron’s girlfriend Vanessa Valladares.

Tune in! A press release for the program describes Byron Baes as a 'docu-soap series' and calls it 'our love letter to Byron Bay' that will also offer audience 'fights, flings and heartbreak'

Tune in! A press release for the program describes Byron Baes as a ‘docu-soap series’ and calls it ‘our love letter to Byron Bay’ that will also offer audience ‘fights, flings and heartbreak’

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