Transgender Netflix staff intend to stage a walkout in protest of Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer.
According to the Los Angeles Times, members of the Netflix employee resource group Trans* will take a “day of rest” on October 20. Allies have been invited to participate in the walkout, which stems from concerns over transphobic remarks made by Dave Chappelle in The Closer.
“I encourage all [members of] Trans* and allies not to work for Netflix that day,” a Netflix employee posted in a Slack message obtained by the Los Angeles Times. “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.”
The unidentified Netflix worker expressed frustration over the streaming service’s response to the backlash. Ted Sarandos, the company’s co-CEO, defended Dave Chappelle’s special in a leaked email.
“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,” the Netflix employee wrote. “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.”
The planned protest will be proceeded by a virtual meeting on October 19. The event is meant to provide Netflix staff with an opportunity to talk about how Dave Chappelle’s special has affected the trans community.
Dave Chappelle’s latest release has sparked plenty of controversy for Netflix. One of its transgender employees was suspended not long after publicly criticizing the comedian in a viral Twitter thread.
Terra Field, a transgender senior software engineer, was later reinstated. Netflix has insisted the suspension wasn’t punishment over speaking out against Chappelle.
“Netflix has reinstated me after finding that there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting,” Field wrote on Twitter. “I’ve included the statement I requested below. I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at. At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
The Closer premiered on Netflix on October 5. It was Chappelle’s sixth special for the streaming service.