Since the release of a Bob Ross documentary on Netflix this week, a lot has been said. Bob Ross Inc., the firm that sells memorabilia related to the artist, has taken a particular offense to the project. But what exactly was offensive in the documentary? Here is a quick explainer.
“Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed”, released this week on Netflix, was directed by the couple Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. For most people, Bob Ross was the epitome of unbridled positivity. He shot to fame after securing his own show “The Joy Of Painting” in the 80s. The huge success of the show continues decades after the show’s end and Ross’s death. However, the documentary suggests that not all was pleasant and positive in the life of the famed artist.
Greed and Betrayal
In particular, the documentary highlights the accusations made by Steve Ross, son of the artist, against the Kowalskis. Annette and Walt Kolwaski were the business duo who managed Bob Ross and were widely credited for securing Ross his famed show. However, Steve argues that the couple ruthlessly hijacked the empire his father built and intended to pass on to his son. Steve also alleges that even as his father was dying (Ross died in 1995 due to cancer), the Kowalskis were taking control of his business. Since his death, the Kowalskis have established Bob Ross Incorporated, a company that sells paraphilia related to Ross. The continued popularity of the artist has made the company a multi-million dollar company.
Kowalskis Hit Back
Soon after the documentary premiered, representatives of the company released a statement attacking the project. The statement contested that the documentary presented an inaccurate and heavily slanted portrayal of the company. While the company admitted that the documentary producers had twice requested them for a statement last year, it alleges that both of these requests lacked transparency.
However, the documentary has found overwhelming support among the viewers. Many called it heartbreaking, while others have vented against the Kowalskis and their company.