Netflix Inc employees on Wednesday staged a walk-out in an unprecedented display of defiance to protest the streaming giant’s decision to release comedian Dave Chappelle’s controversial new comedy special, which they call a mockery of the people.
A group of employees who call themselves Team Trans* have scheduled a rally outside Netflix’s 13-story Sunset Boulevard offices in Los Angeles, where activists, public figures and other supporters were given a “list to ask” chief content officer Ted Sarandos. plan to present.
“We don’t need a quarterly/annual show against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities,” organizer Ashley Marie Preston wrote in a social media post. “Instead, we want to use this moment to shift the social ecology that Netflix leadership considers ethical entertainment.”
While such demonstrations have become common in Silicon Valley, where Facebook and Google employees have engaged in open protests to draw attention to corporate policies, it is believed to be a first for the leading streaming video company.
Even as it posted record subscriber numbers Tuesday, fueled by the global popularity of the South Korean thriller “Squid Game,” Netflix faces internal discontent over its handling of Chappelle’s stand-up show “The Closer.” Had to do
Sarandos reacted further with an October 11 staff memo in which he acknowledged Chappelle’s provocative language but said it did not cross the border in inciting violence. “We firmly believe that content on screen does not harm the real world.”
This isn’t the first time Netflix has come under fire for boundary-pushing content. The coming-of-age story “Cutties” was accused of hypersexualizing young girls, and the teen suicide drama “13 Reasons Why,” was blamed for the rise in teen suicides.
The controversy over “The Closer” is brewing against the backdrop of a company-wide diversity effort, after Netflix’s former communications chief was fired for using a racist adjective at company meetings while discussing offensive language in comedy. which started in 2018. The stated goal, according to an inclusion report published in January, is to create a workplace where employees “feel like they have a home here. They belong.”
“It doesn’t feel good to work at the company that put it there,” Tera Field, a software engineer at Netflix, wrote in a Medium post. “Especially when we’ve spent years creating company policies and benefits to make it a great place for trans people to work.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)