Netflix CEO was warned that Dave Chappelle specials would cause 'internal strife and bad press' for the streaming service, report says

Dave Chappelle in 2018.
Actor Dave Chappelle attends 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
  • A former exec told CEO Ted Sarandos that Netflix would see "internal strife" for Dave Chappelle specials, THR reported.

  • Chappelle's comedy special "The Closer" led multiple Netflix employees to criticize the platform.

  • On April 19, Netflix announced the loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter.

Cindy Holland, former vice president of original content at Netflix, told CEO Ted Sarandos that bringing Dave Chappelle back for a comedy special might not be a great idea, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"It was also Holland who warned Sarandos, to no avail, that continuing to order specials from one of his comedy heroes, Dave Chappelle, would lead to internal strife and bad press," THR reported.

Chappelle's 2021 comedy special "The Closer" contained transphobic rhetoric, including a joke where he said he was "Team TERF," which stands for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

Chappelle has been accused of perpetuating anti-trans ideology in previous specials. Sarandos, a Chappelle fan, defended the comic but later told staff members that he "screwed up."

The special launched an internal conflict and dissent among employees. Multiple Netflix staff spoke out about their disapproval of the comedian's set and Netflix's decision to greenlight it.

Netflix is now dealing with its another issue as the platform revealed last week it lost 200,000 subscribers during its first quarter and forecasted it could lose two million in the next. The news sent its stock plummeting 21% in after-hours trading

This week, the streamer also laid off 25 full-time staffers from its new marketing site, Tudum, which launched in December.

The THR report also highlighted Holland's oversight of Netflix's series as the reason for its previous success. "That service was built on the back of Cindy Holland's taste," a source told THR.

A representative for Netflix did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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