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Netflix is considering at least one of the demands made by its trans employees over the backlash from Dave Chappelle’s “The Closer.”
The streaming service is weighing whether or not to put a content warning ahead of the special, which has been soundly criticized for Chappelle’s transphobic jokes, TheWrap has learned.
There is concern internally that this could lead to Netflix being forced to put warnings or disclaimers on all or most of its other stand-up content, given the boundary-pushing nature of the genre. However, it wouldn’t be the first time Netflix puts any kind of warning in front of its shows, as it already puts disclaimers in other areas such as suicide prevention and awareness for shows like “13 Reasons Why.”
Netflix declined to comment.
Earlier this week Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he did not think it would be necessary to put any kind of disclaimer. “The content is age-restricted already for language, and Dave himself gives a very explicit warning at the beginning of the show, so I don’t think it would be appropriate in this case,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, a day before the walkout.
Netflix and Chappelle came under fire from prominent social justice organizations earlier this month for the comedian’s jokes targeting trans and other LGBTQ+ people in his new special. “Gender is a fact,” he says at one point in the hour-plus set. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.” Chappelle then joked about the genitalia of trans women, which he described as “not what it is.”
On Wednesday, more than 100 protesters gathered near Netflix’s Hollywood offices to protest the streamer’s handling of the special, which has been harshly criticized for featuring anti-transgender jokes. The rally, called “‘Stand Up’ in Solidarity” organized by trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston, began as an estimated 10% of Netflix employees in New York and Los Angeles staged a virtual walkout at noon local time in an extraordinarily public rebuke of the company.
Netflix’s trans employees and their allies presented the streaming giant with a list of demands, none of which include taking down “The Closer.”
The list asks for Netflix to create a fund to develop trans and nonbinary talent; revise the company policies when it comes to “releasing potentially harmful content”; hire trans and nonbinary content executives and recruit more of them for leadership roles; allow employees to remove themselves from promotional content; take down “references and imagery” of transphobic titles within the company offices; acknowledge the harm and Netflix’s responsibility of transphobic content.