Netflix trans staff and allies plan walkout – The Hollywood Reporter


At least a thousand Netflix employees are expected to participate in a virtual walkout to protest recent comments by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos in support of Dave Chappelle’s special, The closest, according to a current staff member who spoke with The Hollywood reporter.

As first reported by The edge, Netflix’s trans staff and allies plan to hold the virtual walkout on Wednesday, October 20, after Sarandos sent two staff memos – one on October 8 and another to all Netflix staff on Monday – stating that the company wouldn’t remove the special, in which Chappelle pokes fun at gender identities and defends JK Rowling’s transphobic remarks, among other comments.

In the second memo, sent on Monday, Sarandos argued that “on-screen content does not directly translate into real-world damage,” according to a copy reviewed by THR.

“The strongest evidence to support this is that screen violence has increased dramatically over the past three decades, especially with first-party shooters, and yet violent crime has declined dramatically in many countries.” , wrote Sarandos in the memo, which was first reported by Variety. “Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse – or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy – without it causing them harm to others.”

Current Netflix employee Said Sarandos’ memos were largely the impetus behind the walkout, organized by employee resource group Trans * to the streamer but which received support from several allies at the company. During the walkout, participating staff members will not do any work to stream it and instead focus on donating to charities and encouraging others to engage in content that supports the trans community, according to the staff member.

“The note was very disrespectful” said the staff member, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the matter.It didn’t invite a solid conversation on this difficult topic, and that’s normally the way it is.

In a press release sent to THR Earlier Wednesday, a Netflix spokesperson said the company supports the “artistic expression” of creators while encouraging “employees to openly disagree.”

Dave Chappelle’s specials are consistently the most watched comedy specials on Netflix and have won numerous awards including an Emmy and a Grammy for Sticks and stones,“said the spokesperson. “We support the artistic expression of our creators. We also encourage our employees to openly disagree.

Netflix refused to share audience data for The closest.

Earlier this week, three Netflix staff were suspended for attending an executive meeting to denounce the Chappelle special. The trio, which included a Netflix engineer who is trans, were later reinstated after a public reaction to Netflix’s response.

October 13, 6:00 p.m .: Updated with comments from the Netflix employee and Ted Sarandos’ second memo to staff.

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