Netflix boss admits “I screwed up” as staff protest over Dave Chappelle special

Staff & trransgender rights advocates protest outside a Netflix office block in latest move against comedy special.

About 100 people have protested in LA against the streaming pioneer’s decision to release comedian Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special, which they say ridicules transgender people.

Netflix staff members, transgender rights advocates and public officials protested outside a Netflix office block in Los Angeles.

It was the latest move in a furore over a Dave Chappelle comedy special, The Closer. Discussing his views on gender, he defended Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s controversial transgender tweets and declared himself to be on “Team TERF!” (referencing the term for trans-exclusionary radical feminist).

But staff were also fuming over co-chief executive Ted Sarandos’s assertion that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm”.

“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,” he wrote in a staff email.

Sarandos said Chappelle’s language did not cross the line into inciting violence.

Demonstrators held signs proclaiming “Trans Lives Matter” and “Team Trans” and chanted slogans.

Terra Field — a Netflix senior software engineer who identifies as a transgender woman on her Twitter account — posted a thread online, saying the Chappelle special attacked the transgender community “while trying to pit us against other marginalised groups”.

Speaking to Variety, Ted Sarandos conceded, “Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication. I did that, and I screwed it up in two ways. First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn’t do that. That was uncharacteristic for me, and it was moving fast and we were trying to answer some really specific questions that were floating. We landed with some things that were much more blanket and matter-of-fact that are not at all accurate.”

He added, “I’ve spent the past couple of days listening to folks and sitting down with folks, about where they’re at and how they’re feeling and what they’d like to see moving forward. I’m continuing to do that now. One of the things that I think is very important that I want people to understand is that, going forward, it should be really clear that I support artistic freedom and the creators that work at Netflix. I’m committed to continuing to increase representation on screen and behind the camera, and I’m always open to learn and improve on how to address these challenges.”

Additional Source: ABC

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