Netflix has created an anime that uses artificial intelligence systems to draw backgrounds, which has once again outraged artists.

In their tweet Japanese division of Netflix stated that the short The Dog & The Boy uses art created by artificial intelligence due to a labor shortage in the anime industry.

“As an experimental effort to help the anime industry, which has a labor shortage, we used image generation technology for the background images of all three-minute video cuts!” wrote the streaming platform.

The tweet sparked immediate criticism and outrage from commentators who believe Netflix is using artificial intelligence to avoid paying human artists. This has become a major problem since the advent of AI-based image generators. Many artists consider these tools unethical because they learn from a mass of artwork scraped off the Internet — and use them to further cut costs and devalue workers. Japan’s Netflix’s announcement that artificial intelligence has been used to fill perceived labor shortages hits the bull’s eye on these widespread concerns.

According to a press release, the short film was made by Netflix Anime Creators Base, a Tokyo-based hub that was created to increase anime output with new tools and techniques — in collaboration with Rinna Inc., an AI-powered art object creation company, and WIT Studio, the production company that released the first three seasons of Attack on Titan.

The Dog & The Boy trailer highlights scenic and dramatic backdrops with cityscapes and mountain ranges. At the end of the promo, a hand-drawn mock-up is shown, with the background designer listed as “AI + Human”, meaning that the scene was generated by a human-supervised image generation algorithm. In the next two scenes, an AI-generated version appears.

Demand for new anime has skyrocketed in recent years, but the industry has long been plagued by labor abuses and low wages.

As the use of AI-generated art becomes more commonplace, artists are rebelling against having their craft handled by algorithms and their work stolen for use in datasets. In January a group of artists filed a class action lawsuit against Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney, alleging that the text-to-image conversion tools infringe on their property rights.