Netflix officials have attempted to dispel rumours that employees were suspended for criticising Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up comedy special.
The streaming giant faced a huge backlash from its workforce and audiences last week after they released the controversial show, The Closer. On it, Chappelle, made controversial remarks that were condemned across the board by the LGBTQ community.
Netflix software engineer, Terra Field, who identifies as queer and transgender, Tweeted: “Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalised groups. You’re going to hear a lot of talk about ‘offence.’ We are not offended.”
They explained: “What we object to is the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of colour) and VERY specifically Black trans women.”
According to numerous reports, Field and two other Netflix employees crashed the company’s quarterly business review meeting to protest against Chappelle’s show. Field has also claimed she was suspended for publicly criticising the company’s decision to release the show.
A spokesperson for Netflix has since denied Field’s claim. “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show,” they said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”
In an internal memo acquired by Variety, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos reportedly told senior staff members: “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,” he maintained. “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.”
Sarandos then went on to state that he does not believe that The Closer violates the company’s content guidelines, which prohibits titles “designed to incite hate or violence.”
This is a developing story.