By Sandra Rose  | 

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The Netflix employee walkout is happening now outside Netflix's Los Angeles headquarters in protest over Dave Chappelle's comedy special.

Hundreds of employees walked out of Netflix's headquarters on Wednesday, Oct. 20. The protesters are angry over Chappelle's transgender jokes in his comedy special The Closer.
 

 

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"Transphobia is not a joke," said Ashlee Marie Preston (pictured), who organized the walkout.

"We're up against the emergence of hate economy. And there is this manipulation of algorithmic science that distorts the way that we perceive ourselves and others. And I think that companies like Netflix, Facebook, and Instagram, they play into it, and they monetize on it. And so I think that this is important to show up today."

Preston invited Chappelle to meet with them before the walkout, but he refused.

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Chappelle's transgender supporters tried to disrupt the protest.

Counter protesters held up signs reading "Jokes Are Funny," and "Netflix Don't Cancel Free Speech."

"We are protesting this walkout. They have the right to do it, but we have the right to standup for Dave Chappelle and his freedom of expression," said Gigi LaRoux, a transgender Chappelle supporter.

"This boils down to equality, and if people want equality they need to be put on the same level as anybody else. Comedians are equal opportunity destroyers. You can't pick and choose who you're going to make fun of."

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos walked back memos he sent to staff in support of Chappelle.

"I can tell you I screwed up those two communications, but my stance hasn't changed," Sarandos said in a phone interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Sarandos said he should have acknowledged that "a group of our employees were in pain" and "hurt" by the company's decision to air the special.

"I'd say those emails lacked humanity, in which I like to and I do generally communicate with our teams," he added.