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14th Oct 2021

Netflix employees ‘planning walkout’ over Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special

Charlie Herbert

NEtflix employees planning walkout over Dave Chappelle's new special

The special has caused controversy over the trans jokes featured in it

Workers at Netflix are planning a walkout in protest against Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up special, The Closer.

It’s over some of the trans jokes that the outspoken comedian makes in the special, which a number of employees apparently warned executives about before it was given the green light by Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos.

There has been widespread criticism of the special from those who accuse Chappelle of going too far this time.

As a result, workers at the streaming platform are reportedly planning a walkout.

According to the LA Times, the walkout is set to take place on October 20, with a Netflix employee apparently posting a message in a work channel encouraging trans employees to take a “day of rest” in protest over the special.

The statement on Slack read: “I encourage all [members of] Trans* and allies not to work for Netflix that day. … As we’ve discussed through Slack, email, texts and everything in between, our leadership has shown us that they do not uphold the values for which we are held.

“Between the numerous emails and non-answers that have been given, we have been told explicitly that we somehow cannot understand the nuance of certain content. I don’t know about you, but asking for us to show the whole story and not just the pieces that harm trans and [LGBTQ+] people is not an unreasonable ask.”

Bloomberg reports that 1,000 people within Netflix have sent messages to the company about the special.

There is also anger over how senior management at Netflix have handled the backlash to the special, with reports emerging earlier this week that the company have been accused of suspending trans employees for their open criticism of the special.

However Netflix says that the trio of employees were suspended for crashing a virtual meeting of shareholders and directors at the company.

A Netflix rep claimed the company’s action against its employees was due to their attendance at the meeting and not for being critical of Netflix and Chappelle’s special, saying: “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”

In his special, Chappelle says that he is ‘Team TERF’ – trans-exclusionary radical feminist – and says “gender is a fact.”

So far Netflix has stood by Chappelle. Sarandos issued an internal memo last week saying that he doesn’t think The Closer ‘crosses the line’ of inciting hate or violence.

Meanwhile, co-CEO Reed Hastings has said that he wants to continue working with Chappelle, describing him as a “unique voice.”

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