Renowned comedian Dave Chappelle was targeted by the transgender community, following the release of his new stand-up comedy special on Netflix, The Closer, and labeled as transphobic for the jokes he included in his routine.
On Monday, Variety reported that Netflix had suspended three employees for “crashing a meeting of its top executives” in an attempt to protest Dave Chappelle’s The Closer.
Transgender senior software engineer, Terra Field, was reportedly one of the employees who were suspended for attending the streaming giant’s Quarterly Business Review.
Prior to crashing Netflix’s QBR, Field had shared a tweet that addressed the release of Dave Chappelle’s The Closer, condemning it for being transphobic in nature, but claiming that they were not offended.
“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.’ We are not offended,” said Field.
In a follow-up tweet, Field declared, “What we object to is the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women. People who look like me aren’t being killed. I’m a white woman, I get to worry about Starbucks writing ‘Tara’ on my drink.”
However, a spokesperson for Netflix told Variety that they did not suspend any employees for expressing their opinions on social media.
“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,” a Netflix spokesperson told the outlet.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos also addressed the whole situation, explaining that “Chapelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award-winning stand-up special to date.”
He further stated, “As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful.”
Sarandos shared yet another statement in which he said that Chappelle’s special would not be removed from Netflix, encouraging employees to be accepting of content they may disagree with.
“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,” wrote Sarandos.
Concluding that “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.”
Earlier this week, Terra Field took to social media to reveal that “Netflix has reinstated me after finding there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting. I’ve included the statement I requested below.”
“Hi Terra, As you requested, this email is to document the conversation we just had about reinstating you fully as an employee at Netflix. Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” reads the statement shared by Field.
It continues, “Additionally when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting that you could attend.”
The Verge is now reporting that the transgender employee resource group (ERG) is planning a walkout to protest both Dave Chappelle’s comedy special and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ statement in regards to the comedian’s recently released stand-up show.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!” reads an internal organising message written by the ERG leader.
“As we’ve discussed through Slack, email, text, and everything in between our leadership has shown us they do not uphold the values to which we are held,” reads information written by the organisers.
It continues, “Between the numerous emails and non-answers that have been given, we have been told explicitly that we somehow cannot understand the nuance of certain content.”
As per the information presented by the outlet, Netflix’s “company-wide walkout” will be taking place on Wednesday the 20th of October.
Dave Chappelle’s The Closer was heavily criticised by woke organisation GLAAD, who claimed that the comedian’s brand “has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”
Dear White People co-showrunner Jaclyn Moore also took offence at the comedian’s stand-up special, who declared, “I will not work with them as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”
In spite of the recent attempts to cancel him, Chappelle is completely unfazed by the backlash, asserting, “If this is what being canceled is like, I love it. F—k Twitter. F—k NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid a— networks. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life.”
What do you make of this walkout in protest of Netflix and Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.