Trans employees and Netflix allies are planning a walkout on Wednesday, October 20 to protest co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ comments on Dave Chappelle’s new special “The Closer”, Variety confirmed.
As reported by The Verge, a leader of the streamer’s trans employee resource group wrote the following in a message to members: “Trans Lives Matter. Trans rights issue. And as an organization, Netflix has still not been very careful in our mission to entertain the world by repeatedly posting content that harms the trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and elevates trans content. We can and must do better! “
Netflix’s most dedicated Twitter account to LGBTQ + content was released on Wednesday: “We can’t always control what happens onscreen. What we can control is what we create here, and the POV we bring to internal conversations.
To be clear: As the queer and trans people who run this account, you can imagine the last couple of weeks have been tough. We can’t always control what happens on the screen. What we can control is what we create here, and the POV we bring to internal conversations.
– Most (@Most) October 13, 2021
Monday, Variety exclusively reported that Sarandos defended Chappelle’s special, which was accused of containing transphobic and homophobic content, in a memo to staff.
Chappelle is one of the most popular comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him. His latest ‘Sticks & Stones’ special, also controversial, is our most watched, most tacky and most award-winning yet, “wrote Sarandos.” As with our other talents, we work hard to support their creative freedom – even if that means there will always be content on Netflix that some people think is harmful. “
In a statement to Variety, Netflix said the company encouraged employees to “openly disagree” with the sentiment.
“The Dave Chappelle Specials are consistently the most watched comedy specials on Netflix and have won numerous awards, including an Emmy and Grammy for ‘Sticks & Stones’,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “We support the artistic expression of our creators. We also encourage our employees to openly disagree.
Shortly after Sarandos’ memo, three employees were suspended for disrupting a management meeting, including Terra Field, who identifies as trans and queer and had criticized Chappelle’s special on Twitter. According to Netflix, Field was not suspended for his tweets, but for attending the meeting uninvited. On Tuesday, it was announced that the employees had been reinstated after finding that they had not joined the meeting with bad intention.