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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.
 

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Ted Sarandos apologized for internal memos to his staff about Dave Chappelle ahead of a planned walkout by 1,000 Netflix employees on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Sarandos previously insisted he wouldn't remove Chappelle's hit comedy special, The Closer, despite outrage from transgender employees over Chappelle's transgender jokes.

"I can tell you I screwed up those two communications, but my stance hasn't changed," the Netflix co-CEO 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.

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"I'd say those emails lacked humanity, in which I like to and I do generally communicate with our teams," said Sarandos who is married to Nicole Avant, former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas.

"...this is the problem when you have a leaked email out of context, is it's part of a conversation already in progress, and that line of causing harm in the real world was way over simplistic and talking about something very specific that we were talking about earlier that day."

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Sarandos reiterated that Chappelle's comedy special - for which the comedian was paid $24.1 million - was in line with Netflix's stringent policy on harmful content.

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The Netflix chief (right) said he didn't think it would be "appropriate" for him to add a disclaimer about harmful content before airing Chappelle's special.

"The content is age restricted already for language, and Dave himself gives a very explicit warning at the beginning of the show, so I don't think it would be appropriate in this case."

He continued:

"But I do think that the inclusion of the special on Netflix is consistent with our comedy offering, it's consistent with Dave Chappelle's comedy brand and this is ... one of those times when there's something on Netflix that you're not going to like."

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Netflix fired a longtime employee who leaked the amount that the company paid Dave Chappelle for his controversial comedy special The Closer.

The employee was let go after they leaked that Netflix paid Chappelle $24.1 million for The Closer and $23.6 million for his 2019 comedy special Sticks & Stones.

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By comparison, Netflix spent $21.4 million for Squid Game, which is Netflix's biggest series launch ever.

A spokesperson for the company announced on Friday:

"We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company."

The job termination comes amid ongoing tensions over transgender jokes Chappelle told in The Closer.

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Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos, pictured with his wife Nicole Avant, previously said he would not pull The Closer off the air after three employees were suspended for crashing an annual meeting of Netflix's top directors.

The three employees were reinstated this week. However, Netflix's transgender employees plan to strike on Oct. 20.

Netflix's other co-CEO Reed Hastings told angry staff "We are on the right side of history" in a post on an internal message board.

Lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby wrote an open letter to Sarandos on Instagram slamming him for using her name to defend Chappelle.

"F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult..." she wrote.

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A group of Netflix transgender employees plan to strike next week in protest of Dave Chappelle's "The Closer" comedy special.

Netflix has lifted the suspension of three employees, including a male-to-female transgender, who protested Chappelle's comedy special on social media.

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Netflix software engineer Terra Field, an MtF transgender, has been reinstated along with two other employees.

Prior to the suspension, Field wrote a lengthy Twitter thread on Oct. 9, complaining about Chappelle's Netflix special.

The three employees were suspended for crashing an annual directors meeting to complain about Chappelle at the company headquarters in San Francisco.

Netflix invites 500 top employees to the annual meeting, but Field and the other two workers were not invited.

Field tweeted the reinstatement notice on Tuesday.

"Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn't think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting."

Field added, "At the very least, I feel vindicated."

A transgender employee resource group at Netflix plans to walk off the job on October 20th to protest statements made by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos regarding Chappelle.

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Sarandos, pictured with his wife Nicole Avant, denied suspending the three employees for complaining about Chappelle.

Sarandos added he will not pull Chappelle's comedy special off the air.

In an internal memo, the trans resource group ERG wrote:

"Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!"