Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists
Sofia Carson will play the role of Ava Jalali on “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.” Kurt Iswarienko/Freeform


  • "Purple Hearts" sparked criticism among viewers over its alleged misogynistic and racist themes
  • Sofia Carson defended the film, saying they "wanted to represent both sides as accurately as possible"
  • Director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum said the characters were intended to be "flawed at the beginning" so they could show their growth

Sofia Carson is defending her Netflix film "Purple Hearts" amid viewer backlash to several allegedly problematic themes.

"Purple Hearts," which stars Carson and Nicholas Galitzine, has been watched for more than 100 million hours less than two weeks after it debuted on July 29, Variety reported.

But while the drama was billed as a romance between a more liberal woman and a conservative man stuck in a fake dating scheme, it sparked criticism among viewers over its alleged misogynistic and racist themes. At one point, a soldier makes a toast and says, "This one is to life, love and hunting down some goddamn Arabs, baby!"

Despite the criticism, however, Carson, who is also an executive producer on the movie, said she is proud of the project.

"Why I fell in love with the movie is that it's a love story but it's so much more than that," she told Variety. "It's two hearts, one red, one blue, two worlds apart, who are really raised to hate each other. Through the power of love, they learn to lead with empathy and compassion and love each other and turn into this beautiful shade of purple."

Carson went on to defend the production amid the backlash.

"We wanted to represent both sides as accurately as possible," she continued. What I think I've learned to do as an artist is separate myself from all of that and just listen to what the world is feeling and reacting to with the film. That has been so beautifully overwhelming and so many people have felt seen or are comforted by this movie. That's all we could want filmmakers and as artists."

In the film, Carson plays an aspiring musician who has struggled to afford her Type 1 diabetes medication. In order to help cover the costs of insulin, Cassie agrees to marry a Marine (Galitzine) for his health insurance plan and military spouse monetary stipend.

Carson said that director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum "set the tone" on the movie to make sure it was led with honesty.

For "Purple Hearts," they worked with Laura Pavlakovich, the founder of the nonprofit You're Just My Type, and Dr. Michael Metzger, who was a medical consultant on set, to make sure that "what it means to be a Type 1 Diabetic in 2022 in the United States" is represented "as accurately and as vulnerably as possible."

"Purple Hearts" director Rosenbaum also shut down the backlash.

"I hope that people understand that in order for characters to grow, they need to be flawed in the beginning. So we very much intentionally created two characters that had been bred to hate each other," she told Variety. "They are flawed at the beginning and that was intentional."

The director added that the country is "very flawed" at the moment, and they wanted to present that in the film.

"That was the biggest, most important part of the theme," Rosenbaum said. "I do hope that anyone who's in any way insulted by it understands that our intentions are very pure, and it's because we feel like people need to grow and need to start to become more moderate."

"Purple Hearts" is now streaming on Netflix.

sofia carson
Sofia Carson is pictured at the 26th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Academy Awards Viewing Party on March 4, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images