trans rights

Trans Netflix Employees to Stage Walkout After Company Response to Dave Chappelle Special

Photo: Mathieu Bitton

Members of a trans employee-resource group within Netflix are planning a walkout for October 20 to protest the company’s handling of concerns over transphobic content in Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer. After the special debuted on October 5, Netflix suspended three trans employees for attending a director-level meeting (and reversed the suspension after the media reported on it). Then, on October 8, CEO Ted Sarandos issued an internal memo (which was obtained by Variety) in which he defended the entertainment company’s decision to stream The Closer: “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries,” he wrote. “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.”

The walkout action, posted to a Slack channel by a member of the Trans* ERG (and shared with the Los Angeles Times), responds directly to Sarandos’s memo, framing its sentiment as condescending and dismissive: “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. 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,” it reads. “So, I encourage us all to state clearly that we, as Netflix employees are stunning not simply when we are doing the work that our roles demand of us but also when we challenge the very principles of our company.”

Trans Netflix Staff Plan Walkout After Chappelle Special