A top Netflix executive said Dave Chappelle’s special The Closer doesn’t cross “the line on hate” and will remain on the streaming service despite fallout over the comedian’s remarks about the transgender community.
In an internal memo, co-CEO Ted Sarandos told managers that “some talent” may join third parties in calling for the show’s removal, adding, “which we are not going to do.”
Netflix declined comment on the memo, which was reported Monday by Variety.
But the company responded to news reports it had suspended three employees, including one, Terra Field, who’d criticized Chappelle’s special in tweets. Field identifies herself on Twitter as a senior software engineer at Netflix and as trans.
I work at <a href=”https://twitter.com/netflix?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@netflix</a>. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You’re going to hear a lot of talk about “offense”.<br><br>We are not offended 🧵
“It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so,” Netflix said in a statement.
According to a person familiar with the matter, the three employees joined a quarterly meeting for company directors and vice presidents without gaining authorization. The person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the situation publicly, said one worker was suspended as a result of an investigation.
What if any action was or might be taken against the other two workers was unknown.
Field didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In her posts, she said that Chappelle was being criticized not because his comments are offensive but for the harm they do to the trans community, especially Black women.
Field included a list of trans and nonbinary men and women of colour who she said had been killed, adding in each case that the victim “is not offended.”
A representative for Chappelle didn’t respond to a request for comment.
GLAAD calls out Netflix policy violation
In a statement Monday, the media watchdog group GLAAD said that “anti-LGBTQ content” violates Netflix’s policy to reject programs that incite hate or violence.
GLAAD called on Netflix executives to “listen to LGBTQ employees, industry leaders and audiences and commit to living up to their own standards.”
Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree. <a href=”https://t.co/yOIyT54819″>https://t.co/yOIyT54819</a>
When Chappelle’s special was released last week, the group said that the comedian’s “brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”
Jaclyn Moore, who was a writer and producer on the Netflix show Dear White People, tweeted that she worked with executives and others at the service who “fought for important art” and that she told “the story of my transition for @netflix.”
I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, “I’m not a ‘real’ woman.” I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, <a href=”https://twitter.com/netflix?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Netflix</a>, I’m done. <a href=”https://t.co/2naqrzW0G2″>https://t.co/2naqrzW0G2</a>
But Moore said she faces hate and attacks because “I’m not a ‘real’ woman.”
She said on Twitter that she will not work with Netflix “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”