Netflix fired one of the leaders of the company’s trans employee resource group who had been organizing a walkout for next Wednesday over the company's response to the anti-LGBTQ+ remarks in Dave Chappelle’s latest special, The Closer.
The Black and pregnant employee had been encouraging trans workers and allies at Netflix to join the walkout to protest the company's handling of the controversy, according to The Verge.
“All these white people are going around talking to the press and speaking publicly on Twitter, and the only person who gets fired is the Black person who was quiet the entire time,” a former employee told the outlet. “That’s absurd and just further shows that Black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”
The fired employee was terminated due to suspicion they were leaking metrics about the Chappelle special to media outlets. The streaming company is notorious for keeping its data strictly in-house, so recent leaks about the special had been unusual for the company.
A source told Variety that the metrics were cited in a Bloomberg article about Chappelle’s special and Netflix employees' reaction. The numbers indicated Chappelle's specials are more costly than more popular shows on the service.
Netflix confirmed the firing to The Verge.
“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a spokesperson said. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”
Last week, Netflix employee Terra Field was suspended after she criticized the company on Twitter. Netflix said she had attempted to join a meeting she was not invited to attend, which resulted in her dismissal. She was later reinstated.
In the special, Chappelle announces himself to be “Team TERF,” comments about trans women’s genitals, and sides with DaBaby disparaging people living with HIV.
Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos sent an internal email following the special's release that said the company had a “long-standing deal” with Chappelle.
Sarandos wrote, “Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
This week, he doubled down on his comments in another email. In it, he downplayed the harm the anti-LGBTQ+ remarks by Chappelle could make, according to Variety.
“With The Closer, we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.),” Sarandos wrote. “Adults can watch violence, assault, and abuse — or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy — without it causing them to harm others.”