Feature // “Harambe & Friends” green-lit by Netflix despite controversy.

Netflix have officially picked up the new animated show from the team behind “BoJack Horseman” and are set to go into production later this year.

Speaking in March, creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg stated “we’d been looking to do an animated show similar to (BoJack) for quite some time and were finally able to get things together early this year with Netflix’s backing”.

While support and enthusiasm has been found for Steve Zahn, slated to voice the titular character, overall the project has been met with considerable backlash from PETA for what they say is nothing more than cashing in on a tragedy. Harambe, a 17 year old western lowland gorilla became the subject of public debate and meme culture in May 2016 after being shot dead for grappling a child who fell into his enclosure.

The show will be aimed at a younger audience than BoJack Horseman but will feature a similarly dark sense of humour, focusing on the exploits on the zoo’s animal inhabitants in a manner not unlike Sesame Street. Initial development meetings for the show began back in late 2015 but it was pushed back significantly after the incident itself. Now Netflix have officially given the go-ahead for 2018 and in a bold move, gone as far to rename the show after the deceased animal.

This week after widespread condemnation, Bob-Waksberg defended the project speaking to Variety, saying his vision for the show will “highlight and celebrate the diversity of life in the zoo, reflecting our current social climate”. Adding, “by naming our show after him, we’re paying tribute to a beloved animal in the best way we can”.

Netflix have yet to comment on the project’s recent developments.

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