Netflix has reportedly fired the leader of a trans organization within the company who allegedly organized an upcoming walkout to protest the company backing comedian Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer.”
The Verge reported:
The employee was terminated on suspicion of leaking metrics to the press related to the Dave Chappelle special. Those metrics — about how much Netflix paid for The Closer and how many people it reached — subsequently ended up in a report on Bloomberg. While the employee had shared the metrics internally, they spoke out against the leaks to colleagues, worried they might hurt the walkout movement.
The leaking of internal data is highly unusual at Netflix. While the company prides itself on transparency, employees are told that the culture can only thrive when Netflix data remains internal.
A former Netflix employee complained to The Verge that the company’s decision to fire the employee, who was not named, proved that “black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”
“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” the company said in a statement confirming that they fired the individual. “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.”
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed outrage from leftists inside the company who were triggered by some of the jokes that Chappelle told in his widely-praised special.
Sarandos’ said in a memo:
I wanted to follow-up on the “The Closer” — Dave Chappelle’s latest special — as several of you have reached out following QBR asking what to say to your teams. It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues, so I wanted to give you some additional context. You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.
Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special “Sticks & Stones,” also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest, and most award winning stand-up special to date. As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom – even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful, like “Cuties,” “365 Days,” “13 Reasons Why” or “My Unorthodox Life.”
Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles 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.
In terms of our commitment to inclusion, we’re working hard to ensure more people see their lives reflected on screen and that under-represented communities are not defined by the single story. So we’re proud of titles like “Sex Education,” “Young Royals,” “Control Z” and “Disclosure.” Externally, particularly in stand-up comedy, artistic freedom is obviously a very different standard of speech than we allow internally as the goals are different: entertaining people versus maintaining a respectful, productive workplace.
Today’s conversation on Entertain the World was timely. These are hard and uncomfortable issues. We all bring different values and perspectives so thank you for being part of the conversation as it’s important we’re clear about our operating principals.
Related: Netflix CEO Doubles Down On Chappelle Amid News Of Trans Employee Walkout: Humor Doesn’t Translate To ‘Real-World Harm’