Netflix employee who criticized Dave Chapelle is among 3 suspended
Netflix recently suspended three employees, including a transgender employee who posted a Twitter thread last week criticizing a new Dave Chappelle stand-up special on the streaming service as transphobic.
Employees were suspended after attending a virtual business meeting between senior executives of the company to which they were not invited, a person familiar with the decision said on Monday, speaking under the guise of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. Netflix said in a statement that transgender employee Terra Field had not been suspended due to tweets criticizing Mr. Chappelle’s show.
“It is absolutely wrong to say that we have suspended employees for tweeting about this show,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “Our employees are encouraged not to openly agree, and we support their right to do so.”
Mr. Chappelle’s comedy special “The Closer” debuted on Netflix Tuesday and was quickly criticized by several organizations, including GLAAD, for “making a fool of trans people.” Jaclyn Moore, executive producer of Netflix series “Dear White People,” said last week that she would not work with Netflix “as long as they continue to broadcast and enjoy clearly and dangerously transphobic content.”
Ms Field, who is a software engineer at Netflix, tweeted last week that the special “attacks the trans community and the very validity of transited.”
On Monday, after news of her suspension became public following a report from The Verge, she tweeted, “I just want to say I appreciate everyone’s support. You are all the best, especially when the going is tough.
As criticism of Mr. Chappelle’s special began last week, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos sent a note to employees defending the comedian.
“Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate,” Sarandos wrote in the note. “We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hatred or violence, and we don’t think ‘The Closer’ crosses that line. I do admit, however, that it’s hard to distinguish between commentary and prejudice, especially with the stand-up comedy that exists to push the boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up petty, but our members appreciate it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.
Mr Sarandos also cited Netflix’s “long-standing deal” with Mr Chappelle and said that the comedian’s 2019 special, “Sticks & Stones” was also “controversial” and was “our stand-up special. Most Viewed, Stickiest, and Most Award Winning to Date. “
In 2019, Netflix came under fire when it blocked an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s topical show “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” in Saudi Arabia after the kingdom’s government asked him to do so. In the episode, Mr. Minaj criticized the Saudi government and questioned Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We’re not in the news business,” Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said in 2019, explaining the decision. “We are not trying to bring ‘truth to power’. We try to entertain.