Trans employees at Netflix will reportedly participate in a virtual walkout to protest Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ statement supporting Dave Chappelle’s special, The Closer.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, at least one thousand employees are expected to participate in the walkout planned for next Wednesday, October 20.
Sarandos sent two memos to staff stating that the company will not remove the special from the streaming site. There was an uproar among trans people and allies due to the special, in which Chappelle made jokes about gender identities, the trans community, among other things.
Various trans employees felt that the jokes were offensive and hurtful to the LGBTQ+ community and pitted minority groups against each other. However, in a memo, Sarandos said that ‘content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.’
In the previous memo, first shared by Variety, Sarandos mentioned titles like Sex Education, Orange is the New Black, Control Z, among the necessary stories that add diversity to Netflix’s content.
We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix. Also, we have many new colleagues who want to better understand the principles that guide our team’s content choices, especially with challenging titles like this.Ted Sarandos
He also mentioned that there were ‘similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women’ last year but said that Netflix supported ‘artistic freedom to help attract the best creators, and push back on government and other censorship requests.’ And said the platform will ‘always have titles some members and employees dislike or believe are harmful.’
Our hope is that you can be hugely inspired by entertaining the world, while also living with titles you strongly believe have no place on Netflix. This will not be the last title that causes some of you to wonder if you can still love Netflix. I sincerely hope that you can.Ted Sarandos
These statements made by Sarandos largely influenced the employees’ decision to partake in the walkout. Many trans activists and groups like GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition slammed Chappelle due to the special.
Earlier this week, Netflix had suspended three staffers for attending a directors-only meeting they were not invited to, who were later reinstated after public backlash on the statement.
According to The Verge, ‘Netflix now plans to issue guidance to employees regarding its meeting attendance policy.’
About The Closer
The Closer is a 2021 American stand-up comedy show special written and performed by comedian Dave Chappelle for Netflix. It was directed by Stan Lathan and recorded in 2021 over the course of seven sold-out performances at the Fillmore in Detroit, which ran from August 10th through August 15th.
The Closer is Chappelle’s sixth and final special under his 2016 deal with Netflix with Deep in the Heart of Texas, The Age of Spin, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation, and Sticks & Stones.
In the special, Chappelle jokes about the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the LGBTQ community, the #MeToo movement, feminism and talks about the J.K. Rowling controversy and Twitter.