Netflix thought they’d get accolades for making so many diverse hires. That strategy backfired when the company had to do layoffs months after launching the fan website Tudum. Now the company is facing public outcry that a number of minority employees lost their jobs.
According to TechCrunch, the company laid off editorial staff from its in-house publication Tudum only five months after launching the new venture. More than ten writers tweeted about being let go, including an editorial manager. The publication indicated that 25 people in Netflix’s marketing department were affected by the decision.
A Netflix spokesperson told the outlet, “Our fan website Tudum is an important priority for the company.”
“It is worth mentioning that Netflix actively recruited Black women and people of color just to lay them off MONTHS later without a second thought,” journalist Monique Judge shared on Twitter. “Don’t brag about being inclusive when you treat your ‘diversity’ hires like they are disposable.”
Affected staff “were full-time, part-time or on contract. Most of them had just been given promotions the month prior to lay-offs,” according to Madame Noire. The publication noted that employees “were only offered two weeks of severance pay.”
“Netflix recruited me seven months ago only to lay me and a bunch of other talented people off today. I’m going to take time off to just exist, so please get in touch if you’ll have editing and content strategy opportunities open after August,” one woman tweeted along with her contact information.
“Well. I just was laid off from a significant contract originally intended through August so I’m looking for stable work… and rent. I need rent,” Nichole Perkins tweeted.
One ex-Tudum employee told NPR: “They went very out of their way to hire high level journalists of color who have quite a bit of name recognition and a lot of experience and talent. In some ways, they were just buying clout to lend credibility to their gambit…We were courted pretty aggressively.”
“They sold us on the most amazing thing that you could want as a culture journalist or entertainment journalist,” the former staffer continued. “They just sold something that seemed impossible anywhere else…But the biggest selling point was the pay…People upended their lives for this.”
The streaming service made headlines when it admitted to losing 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, marking its first subscriber loss in more than a decade. The company expects to lose 2 million subscribers globally in Q2. Netflix responded by raising prices for customers, which could encourage more cancellations, and vowing to crack down on password sharing.