*Last week it was reported that a pregnant Black woman who identifies as a transgender male was fired by Netflix for allegedly leaking confidential internal data about viewership of Dave Chappelle’s new special “The Closer,” and how the streaming giant paid a reported $24 million for it.
“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” Netflix confirmed in a statement. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”
The terminated employee reportedly requested that their name not be mentioned publicly, for fear of harassment. But now comes word that former staffer is B. Pagels-Minor, who is speaking out about the controversy and denies leaking the confidential data that was published in an Oct. 13 Bloomberg report.
“I collected the data, but I did not leak the data,” Pagels-Minor told NPR.
Per Complex, Netflix has clapped back on Pagels-Minor’s claims following an internal probe.
“While we would never normally talk about an investigation like this, these claims are not supported by the facts,” a Netflix spokesperson told Deadline. “This employee admitted sharing confidential information externally from their Netflix email on several occasions. Also, they were the only employee to access detailed, sensitive data on four titles that later appeared in the press.”
The rep continued: “They claim only to have shared this information in an internal document, and that another employee must have leaked it. However, that document was missing data for one title and so cannot have been the source for the leak. In addition to having no explanation for this discrepancy, the employee then wiped their devices, making any further investigation impossible.”
Pagels-Minor is also credited with helping to organize Wednesday’s walkout, which saw several transgender Netflix employees and their allies protest in Los Angeles over the company defending Chappelle’s artist freedom of expression.
“I didn’t want to be the face of this,” Pagels-Minor told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t want this to be about me. I want this to be about the commonality of, if we spend time learning and educating ourselves about others, then we’re better. I think that’s the real thing.”
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has made clear that comedy special will not be removed, saying in a memo to employees that Chappelle “is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him.”
He added, “Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles at 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.”