Fact Check

Did Netflix and Amazon Refuse to Stream 'Sound of Freedom' Film?

The child sex-trafficking film became a box office success story over the July 4, 2023, weekend.

Published July 10, 2023

 (Wikimedia Commons/Thibault )
Image Via Wikimedia Commons/Thibault
Claim:
Netflix and Amazon refused to stream the child sex-trafficking film “Sound of Freedom" due to its subject matter.
Context

According to the film’s producer, Amazon and Netflix refused to distribute the film after he made it but we do not know their reasons for doing so. In 2023, Angel Studios obtained worldwide distribution rights, and it is possible it will stream the film a few months after the release in cinemas. It is currently unknown if Amazon and Netflix will stream the film. We have reached out to Angel Studios, Amazon, and Netflix to learn more and will update this story.

On July 4, 2023, "Sound of Freedom," a film about child sex trafficking, became a success story at the box office and collected around $40 million a week after its release. The film, which stars Jim Caviezel who is known for his role in "The Passion of the Christ," faced accusations that it caters to QAnon conspiracy theories and misrepresents the realities of child exploitation, something its distributors have denied. 

QAnon conspiracy theories we have often covered in the past hinge on a belief that a satanic cabal of global elites — including members of the U.S. Democratic Party — are preying on young children, kidnapping them, having sex with them, and harvesting their blood. 

"Sound of Freedom" is based on the life of Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent who staged stings to catch child sex traffickers. While the film itself does not depict any QAnon conspiracies in its story, Caviezel and Ballard have in the past expressed support for some of the group's wildest claims. 

Many online claimed that the film's content was rejected by big studios and distribution networks like Amazon and Netflix, until it finally found a distributor through Angel Studios. 

And a TikTok user claimed "Netflix and Amazon refuse to promote 'Sound of Freedom' on their platforms" and urged subscribers to cancel their accounts if the companies continued to not show the film.

While Netflix and Amazon may have refused to distribute the film initially — as the film producer said — we have no publicly available information as to why they did it, or whether it was due to a purported distaste over the subject matter of child trafficking. Given that the film was eventually distributed in cinemas by Angel Studios, it is highly possible that it will end up on the same studio's streaming platform, as other films have done so before. 

However, it is also possible that the film ends up on one or more other streaming platforms a few months after its cinematic release, which is common when a movie is released in theaters first. We have reached out to Angel Studios, Netflix, and Amazon to learn more and will update this story when we get more information. 

The film's producer, Eduardo Verastegui, told Fox Business that he knocked on every studio's door. He described working on the movie for five years, and when he finished it three years ago, he said he approached every major studio, including Netflix and Amazon, who turned him away, saying, "Nobody will go and see a movie about children being trafficked, this is not for us." 

In another interview with The Daily Signal alongside Caviezel, Verastegui said that he thought a film about child sex trafficking would be fairly "simple and easy" to distribute, but everyone said, "This is not for us." 

During the interview, they emphasized that many people were involved in the crime of child sex trafficking in every sector, including politics and in Hollywood, and it was "an elite problem," as Caviezel described it. 

In 2021, according to the Washington Post, Caviezel appeared at a QAnon convention in Las Vegas, and used the slogan "The storm is upon us" to refer to an impending takeover led by former U.S. President Donald Trump. He also has propagated the QAnon idea that traffickers are harvesting children for their blood, which purportedly has a life-giving substance called adrenochrome. Appearing at another similar convention in 2021, he said Ballard wanted to join him, but "he's down there saving children as we speak, because they're pulling kids out of the darkest recesses of hell right now, in […] all kinds of places, uh, the adrenochroming of children."

Jared Geesey, senior vice president of global distribution for Angel Studios, said that the film was initially produced under 20th Century Studios, but after Disney acquired the studio in 2019, it put the project on hold. Angel Studios, a Utah-based production company formed in 2021, eventually took it on. According to Rolling Stone, a pair of Mormon brothers formed the studio, but it has no formal church affiliation. The studio has produced religious content in the past. 

While Netflix and Amazon appeared to have passed on the film, we do not know their reasons for doing so, and what a possible streaming plan will be after the movie leaves theaters. Streaming platforms often take on films many months after their release. We have also reached out to Angel Studios to determine whether the film will be available on their streaming platform. 

Until we learn more, we rate this claim as a "Research in Progress." 

Sources

Evon, Dan. "Qurious About QAnon? Get the Facts About This Dangerous Conspiracy Theory." Snopes, 21 Aug. 2020, https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/08/21/qanon-2020-election/. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

Franklin, McKinley. "Angel Studios Acquires Rights to Jim Caviezel Drama 'Sound of Freedom'(EXCLUSIVE)." Variety, 30 Mar. 2023, https://variety.com/2023/film/news/angel-studios-sounds-of-freedom-2023-release-jim-caviezel-1235569196/. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

"I Knocked on 'Every' Studio Door: Eduardo Verastegui | Fox Business Video." Fox Business, 8 July 2023, https://www.foxbusiness.com/video/6330789638112. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

Jim Caviezel Slams Woke Media For Hiding Truth, Call For Sex-Trafficking Whistleblowers. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMeC1Sn8324. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

Klee, Miles. "'Sound Of Freedom' Is a Superhero Movie for Dads With Brainworms." Rolling Stone, 7 July 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-reviews/sound-of-freedom-jim-caviezel-child-trafficking-qanon-movie-1234783837/. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

Rubin, Rebecca. "How Jim Caviezel's Faith-Based 'Sound of Freedom' Became This Summer's Unlikely Box Office Hit." Variety, 9 July 2023, https://variety.com/2023/film/box-office/sound-of-freedom-box-office-success-1235664837/. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

Sommer, Will, and Herb Scribner. "'Sound of Freedom' Is a Box Office Hit Whose Star Embraces QAnon." The Washington Post, 7 July 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230709164402/https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2023/07/07/sound-of-freedom-qanon-theories-jim-caviezel/. Accessed 10 July 2023. 

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.