Byron Bay singer Billy Otto has criticised Netflix's casting procedures for controversial reality show Byron Baes after he was offered $200 per day to join the series.

The rock musician, who hails from Newcastle, told Confidential that Netflix has approached "anyone and everyone" to be a part of Byron Baes and have not been fully transparent about the upcoming project.

"I was never confirmed to be in the show. I had not signed a contract, I was still in the discussion phase," Otto said.

"Of course when Netflix is coming to you wanting to make a show that you can be a part of and they make you feel good about it, of course you're going to inquire.

"At first it sounded awesome and quite authentic. It seemed like a pretty good fit. I knew there could be some cheesy elements to the show but I was willing to put myself on the line because I do care about the world, climate change, and male suicide... these things are very dear to me."

Byron Bay musician Billy Otto has criticised Netflix's controversial reality show Byron Baes. Picture: Instagram
Byron Bay musician Billy Otto has criticised Netflix's controversial reality show Byron Baes. Picture: Instagram

Otto, 33, was approached by Eureka Productions, which is producing the show for Netflix, earlier this year about what he thought sounded more like an empowering documentary.

His initial excitement quickly turned to disappointment after seeing a "dehumanising" press release on April 8.

"The way that it was pitched to me was that it was really going to zone in on interesting people in Byron Bay and creatives and even creative influencers," he said.

"I knew that there was going to be potential drama on the show but I didn't feel like drama and problems were going to be the undergirding force of the show.

"I'm very much about consciousness and the awakening of within and I was excited to share on a massive platform the things that I truly believe in and my connection to country, my honouring of Aboriginal elders and I'm a massive advocate for men's mental health."

In a press release last month cast members were referred to as "hot Instagrammers", which Otto said felt like ridicule and did not match what had been pitched to him.

Byron Bay musician Billy Otto has spoken out against Netflix's controversial reality show Byron Baes. Picture: Instagram
Byron Bay musician Billy Otto has spoken out against Netflix's controversial reality show Byron Baes. Picture: Instagram

"I just stopped talking to them because I was disappointed and upset with the way that they dealt with the situation. I felt a bit lied to and so when they called me back to see if I still wanted to be on the show after the press release, I was just done," he said.

"They were talking about 'hot Instagrammers', fights, drama and flings, I thought 'this is not me at all'.

"I've got a whole career that I've been building for the last 10 years, which is built on authenticity and for me to be paid $200 a day to potentially lose my career and then not even follow up and say 'sorry that you felt upset'. I tried to call and text producers ... but I didn't get a response."

Confidential has contacted Netflix and Eureka for comment.

The Beginning of Us podcast host vented his frustration with Netflix on social media last week and realised he was not alone.

Model Ruby Tuesday Matthews claims she was also approached to be on Byron Baes. Picture: Instagram
Model Ruby Tuesday Matthews claims she was also approached to be on Byron Baes. Picture: Instagram

Former Home And Away star Isabel Lucas was among celebrities who applauded Otto for speaking out against the show.

"My feeling is that they hit up the A-listers, then the B-listers then they kind of just went to anyone," he said.

"Like literally, some of my friends who have no Instagram followings were being hit up over DMs. I've had so many friends come to me saying they were contacted, they asked a lot of people. Younger and older, more famous, less famous, some Instagrammers, some musicians, some yogis. It was a very across the board kind of thing."

Members of the public took part in a paddle-out at Byron Bay's Main Beach to protest against the planned Netflix reality show Byron Baes on the morning of Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Picture: Liana Boss
Members of the public took part in a paddle-out at Byron Bay's Main Beach to protest against the planned Netflix reality show Byron Baes on the morning of Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Picture: Liana Boss

Protests and petitions have been organised by frustrated locals, including Otto's friend and cafe owner Ben Gordon, who are urging Netflix not to proceed with the show out of fear that it will make a mockery of their community.

Former Home And Away star Isabel Lucas applauded Billy Otto for speaking out against the controversial show.
Former Home And Away star Isabel Lucas applauded Billy Otto for speaking out against the controversial show.

Otto hopes that by speaking out, Netflix will either scrap the project or create something with more substance and consult with Bundjalung elders.

"I just think it's a shame that considering the resources that Netflix has, they're not choosing better content … I think Netflix could really make something beautiful out of the authentic characters of Byron Bay," he said.

Originally published as 'Dehumanising': Netflix slammed over Byron Baes