Tensions are running high inside Netflix Inc. The Dave Chappell stand-up special which some employees said is offensive to the transgender community, embracing the latest clash and creative freedom in the streaming giant’s radical-candid culture.
A Netflix transgender-employee group is encouraging workers to walk out next Wednesday in protest of the recent chapel special defense of co-chief executive and chief content officer Ted Sarandos. Walkout plans were previously reported by Verge and confirmed by Netflix NFLX,
Chapel, who was released last week and is currently one of the most viewed shows on the service in the United States, called “gender a truth” and said she was a “trans-exclusive radical feminist” known as “TERF.” Chappell said he’s not a favorite of the trans community, then added, “Someone told me, ‘They’re after you, Dave,’ and I said, ‘One star or many?’ ”
A day after the special release, Netflix software engineer Terra Field, who is transgender, criticized the show on Twitter, saying the chapel attacked the “trans community and the very legitimacy of trans.” The tweets went viral and caused a backlash inside the streaming giant in particular. Groups including the LGBTQ-rights advocacy group Glad spoke out against the show, and the National Black Justice Coalition called on Netflix to remove the special from its platform.
On Monday, Sarandos issued a company-based email defending the special and saying the service would not pull it off. Sarandos said the company works hard to support creative freedom and that means “Netflix will always have content that some people believe is harmful.” He further added that he did not consider it necessary to comment on such fabrications. Chapel has a long-standing relationship with Netflix, which has made multiple specials for streaming services. The last credits of “The Closer” include a picture of Chappell and Sarandos smiling together.
An extended version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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