*Transgender employees at Netflix are planning a walkout on Wednesday, Oct. 20 in protest of Dave Chappelle’s new special “The Closer.”
Transgender staffers along with allies are said to be peeved at Co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ comments regarding Chappelle’s new stand-up show. The Verge reports that a leader of the company’s trans employee resource group wrote the following in a message to members:
“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!”
In a company memo sent Friday, Sarandos said “The Closer” isn’t “designed to incite hate or violence” and noted that “artistic freedom” is measured differently in stand-up comedy, as reported by Complex.
“Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate,” Sarandos wrote in the memo, which you can read in full here. “We don’t allow titles Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
We previously reported that the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has called on Netflix to remove “The Closer” amid backlash over Chappelle’s jokes about the transgender community. The NBJC is an American civil rights organization serving primarily lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Chappelle takes aim at the trans community in his latest stand-up show, which triggered strong reactions on Twitter.
“Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact,” Chappelle says in “The Closer.”
“Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those p—ies that they got… you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not p—y, but it’s Beyond P—y or Impossible P—y. It tastes like p—y, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood,” Dave says in his show. “That’s beet juice.”
“It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform,” NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement. “With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”
Some Netflix employees are reportedly staging a walkout in protest of the streaming giant’s support of Dave. The event is set for Oct. 20, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A Netflix spokesperson told ITK on Wednesday in response to the walkout report, “We support artistic expression for our creators. We also encourage our employees to disagree openly.”