Trans Netflix staff to host walkout for Chappelle special

Netflix’s transgender employees and colleagues will hold a walkout next week to protest the streaming giant’s decision to release Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, several Netflix staff have confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.

On October 20, members of the Netflix Trans * Employee Resource Group and their allies will take a “day off” over concerns about Chappelle’s “The Closer,” which includes several transphobic remarks.

“I encourage all [members of] Trans * and allies not working for Netflix that day. … As we discussed through Slack, emails, texts and all the rest, our leaders have shown us that they are not standing up for the values ​​we are held to, ”posted a Netflix employee on Monday. Slack’s public channel. comprising more than 800 staff representing “gender minorities of all kinds and their allies,” in a post reviewed by The Times.

“Between the many emails and the no replies that were given, we were explicitly told that we somehow cannot understand the nuance of some content. I don’t know about you, but ask us to show the whole story and not just the things that hurt trans and [LGBTQ+] people is not an unreasonable request, ”continued the employee’s Slack statement.

“So I encourage all of us to make it clear that we as Netflix employees are breathtaking not only when we do the work our roles require of us, but also when we question the very tenets of our business. . “

Another Netflix employee, who like others interviewed for this story asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, told The Times the protest would follow a virtual event on October 19 that will be open to all members. staff and discuss the impact of the Chappelle special on the trans community.

Netflix did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on Wednesday.

According to another Netflix staffer, the walkout is intended to put pressure on the streaming giant to recognize the damage caused by Chappelle’s special.

Among the many derogatory remarks about the trans community, the comedian said he supported “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling, who has been called a Trans-Exclusion Radical Feminist (TERF) for repeatedly voicing anti-trans feelings.

The protest organizers are also demanding that Netflix commit to publishing more LGBTQ + content on the platform. They don’t expect the company to remove the special, especially after Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos announced the streamer would keep it despite growing criticism.

News of the walkout comes shortly after Netflix suspended three employees, allegedly for attending a quarterly activity review, or QBR meeting, to which they were not invited, to which directors and vice-presidents. -Company presidents discussed the fallout from the Chappelle special.

One of those staff, senior software engineer Terra Field, has since been reinstated following an investigation into his activities.

“Netflix reinstated me after seeing that there was no bad intention in my participation in the QBR meeting”, Tweeted field Tuesday. “I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I am. At the very least, I feel justified.

Field also shared a screenshot of an email documenting the results of the investigation, which revealed that Field “really didn’t think there was anything wrong with requesting access to this meeting. “and that a Netflix director shared a link to the virtual gathering. with Field, who “further argued that this was a meeting [Field] could attend.

Prior to his suspension, Field publicly condemned “The Closer” in a viral Twitter thread listing the names of trans people who were “not offended” by Chappelle’s comments – because they died in transphobic attacks before publication. of “The Closer”.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 38 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed so far in 2021. Historically, black and Latin women have been attacked at higher rates than other trans people.

“Promote [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] ideology (which we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it’s not a neutral act, ”Field tweeted last week.

“It’s not a two-way argument. It’s an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don’t want us to be, ”Field added. “This is all seen as an offense, however – because if we are just ‘too sensitive’ then it is easy to ignore us.”

In a statement to The Times on Monday, a Netflix spokesperson insisted that it “is absolutely wrong to say that we have suspended any employee for tweeting about this show.”

“Our employees are encouraged not to openly agree and we support their right to do so,” the spokesperson said.

Around the time that Field and his colleagues were suspended, reports came out of an internal memo from Sarandos defending Netflix’s long-standing collaboration with Chappelle and refusing to remove “The Closer” from the platform. .

“Several of you have… asked where we draw the line on hate. We do not allow titles designed to incite hatred or violence on Netflix, and we do not believe The closest crosses that line, ”Sarandos wrote in an excerpt from the memo obtained by The Rod.

“I do recognize, 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 to be mean, but our members appreciate it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.

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