A Netflix virtual event devolved into a social media meltdown when people planning to participate — most of whom were doing so with and for their kids — were given a bad passcode and weren't able to properly log in.
The interactive event was held by Netflix and Fever US on Saturday for the show Nailed It, which features amateur bakers trying to re-create elaborate baked goods. Participants paid $54 for baking supplies to make during the event.
"This baking extravaganza is going to be a laughter-filled experience from the safety of your own kitchen," an ad for the event promised.
After three days of parents complaining relentlessly on social media and to their customer support about the event, Netflix and Fever told BuzzFeed News in a statement that they are "very sorry" and will be issuing full refunds for those who could not get into the event.
Over the weekend, parents told BuzzFeed News they had planned their days around the event, prepping the supplies and getting their children excited.
When it was scheduled to start and they tried entering the password they were given, it failed.
"I wanted to test our setup, so I opened the link to the event a little early and found the password didn’t work about 15 minutes before the event," said Jess McGettrick, who has two young kids.
"I let Fever know through an email that there was a problem, and I never heard back. However, I was really upset because I thought it was just a problem for me, and that I was letting my kids down as the event start time came and went. Then I checked social media and saw that it was across the board."
On Twitter, people like McGettrick were furiously tweeting at Netflix, Fever, and even one of the show's hosts, Nicole Byer, about not being able to access the event. Many parents said they did not hear anything from the event organizers for hours. (McGettrick later said she feels "really badly about [bothering Byer] in hindsight" since the comedian had no hand in coordinating the event herself.)
"We didn't hear anything at all for a couple of hours, and then just before 4 p.m. my time, I got an email with an updated link and time," said Jamie Rosemergy, who was attending with his daughter.
Rosemergy waited it out and attended the stream that was over two hours late, which he said was "a ton of fun." But the total lack of communication from Netflix or Fever during their technical issues was abominable, he and others said.
"We all know that tech failures can happen, but the real failure was that of communication," he said. "Sending an email to know that they are at least trying to fix the problem is not hard and would have helped a ton."
Without hearing from the event organizers, most families went ahead with baking the creations on their own.
"We made it work on our end, and even though I was feeling really tense and annoyed, we were able to turn it around for my kids," said McGettrick.
"I am just really shocked that after 18 months of being in this virtual Zoom world they couldn’t get this right," she added. "Ask any of us who have been teaching all year how to set up a Zoom, and I’m sure even the most tech-averse teacher would be able to make it happen securely, I’m just saying."
Eric Jordan told BuzzFeed News his young daughter had already baked her cake in anticipation of the "Nailed It at Home" event. When they had not heard any updates for hours, they also went ahead with completing the cake on their own.
"She did a wonderful job, alone, and I’m proud of her," he said and tweeted her excellent work.
Online, some parents were having a full meltdown. Some tweeted Byer enough that she felt the need to respond, reminding them that she had "nothing to do" with how the event was planned.
In response, Netflix admitted to "a technical problem" that resulted in "fans [who] weren't able to join at all."
"More than 5000 people were able to take part in our 6th virtual at-home Nailed It Experience hosted on Zoom this weekend. But due to a technical problem, we didn't exactly nail it, there were delays and some fans weren't able to join at all," said a spokesperson for the company in a joint statement with Fever.
"We're very sorry and are offering a full refund to those who were unable to participate."