Review: They Cloned Tyrone Draws on Old CIA Conspiracy Theories

The political commentary in Netflix's sci-fi comedy isn't exactly subtle.


In Netflix's absurdist sci-fi black comedy They Cloned Tyrone, the U.S. government is a secretive, manipulative authority trying to enforce crude racial harmony in America by subjecting black people to bizarre experiments.

The film follows a trio of black urban protagonists who stumble upon a grim secret: For years, the U.S. government has been running a series of experiments attempting to pacify black Americans in order to keep the peace between the races. The experiments include a tranquilizing substance added to fried chicken, mind-control signals embedded in hip-hop, and, as the title suggests, a series of genetic experiments that include cloning and selective breeding designed to eliminate blackness.

The story echoes old conspiracy theories that the CIA had deliberately fueled the crack epidemic in American cities to damage black Americans. The film's politics aren't terribly subtle (the bad guy is named Nixon), but the movie is a delightfully weird and often clever sci-fi riff on the role of government in a complicated system of social oppression.