Netflix is facing a company-wide walkout from its trans employees on October 20.
The streamer is currently embroiled in a tense situation resulting from the Netflix-distributed Dave Chappelle comedy special The Closer, where the comic spent the final 37 minutes of his show mocking trans people and comparing their identity to blackface. Within the show, Chappelle also openly identifies as a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and said that he supports Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who in recent years has become a leading figure in an anti-trans hate campaign.
Following its publication, Netflix senior software engineer Terra Field gained attention when a Twitter thread she posted went viral. In the thread, Field was critical of her employer for publishing the special “where [Chapelle] attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness.” Netflix subsequently suspended Field along with two other employees for trying to attend a director-level meeting to which they were not invited.
The three employees were later reinstated, with Netflix saying that it will issue guidance to employees on its meeting attendance policy.
However, the trans employee resource group (ERG) still plans to stage a walkout after an internal email from co-CEO Ted Sarandos worsened the situation. In the email, he wrote that the company would not take down the special and that he didn’t believe its content crossed “the line on hate”.
In response to the co-CEO’s memo, the ERG wrote in an organising message: “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!
“As we’ve discussed through Slack, email, text, and everything in between our leadership has shown us they do not uphold the values to which we are held. Between the numerous emails and non-answers that have been given, we have been told explicitly that we somehow cannot understand the nuance of certain content.”
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