Netflix bosses are standing by comedian Dave Chappelle and his controversial new comedy special, “The Closer.”
The streaming service defended its decision not to pull The Closer, and suspended an MtF trans employee who spoke out against it.
Co-CEO Ted Sarandos insisted he won’t remove the hit comedy special, despite outrage from LGBT+ rights and transgender activists, who accused Chappelle of going too far.
A company source revealed that three Netflix employees have been suspended for crashing a quarterly directors meeting to complain, WENN.com reported.
One of the suspended employees, Terra Field, a senior software engineer at Netflix, crashed a director-level meeting at the San Francisco headquarters to complain about The Closer.
Netflix invites 500 of its top employees to the annual meeting, however, Field’s name was not on the invite list.
On Oct. 6, Field wrote a lengthy Twitter thread about The Closer and included transphobic tweets from other Twitter users.
This is the price of speaking out against transphobia online as a trans woman, and I'm an extremely privileged one with supportive friends, family, and colleagues.
Imagine facing this alone – and this isn't nearly the worst of them, the worst were deleted before we saw them. pic.twitter.com/rOEUgVi7Gd
— Terra Field (@RainofTerra) October 10, 2021
Serandos told The Hollywood Reporter that Field and the other two employees were not suspended for speaking out on social media.
“It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”
Sarandos defended Chappelle and his new special in an internal memo to Netflix staff and talent:
“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… 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 on 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.”
Fellow comedian Damon Wayans praised Chappelle for freeing comedian “slaves.”
“The comedians. We were slaves to PC culture,” Wayans told TMZ. “As an artist, he’s Van Gogh with his ear off. He’s trying to tell us, ‘It’s okay.'”