Hannah Gadsby, whose comedy specials Nanette (2017) and Douglas (2020) were both released through Netflix, has put out a statement condemning the company’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos for his dismissive messaging in response to the backlash to Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer. On October 13, in Sarandos’s latest written rant on what he thinks stand-up comedy ought to be, he evoked Gadsby’s name as a defense of Chappelle and Netflix, writing, “Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse — or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy — without it causing them to harm others. We are working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story. So we have Sex Education, Orange Is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix.”
On October 15, Gadsby took to Instagram to respond to Sarandos’s comments. “Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view,” Gadsby wrote. “You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. Fuck you and your amoral algorithm cult … I do shits with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke! I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.” Gadsby captioned the post with “Yes I watched the whole thing. Leave me alone. #transisbeautiful #comedyisdead #ikilledit.”
Wanda Sykes has also spoken out after Chappelle’s special, tweeting “Just sending some love to my trans sisters” on October 9, the day Sarandos sent a memo to staff doubling down on his support of Chappelle. Sykes later clarified on Twitter, “Not being ‘passive aggressive,’ just spreading love to a community who needs it.” In 2018, Sykes spoke out about Netflix giving her an offensively low offer for a stand-up comedy special.