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Netflix Backs Dave Chappelle

Keeps comedy special, suspends a trans employee who tweeted about the special
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2021 12:34 AM CDT
Netflix Backs Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle arrives at the 22nd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 27, 2019, in Washington, D.C.   (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Netflix is standing by Dave Chappelle after his new comedy special debuted on the streaming service and was hit with massive backlash. Despite many critics calling out the comedian's transphobic jokes and comments, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos says The Closer will be remaining on the platform. In a memo to employees obtained by Variety, Sarandos writes, "We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries."

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Sarandos notes that Netflix supports creative freedom for its talent, and hosts other controversial content including 13 Reasons Why, Cuties, and My Unorthodox Life. And, he writes, "In terms of our commitment to inclusion, we’re working hard to ensure more people see their lives reflected on screen and that under-represented communities are not defined by the single story. So we’re proud of titles like Sex Education, Young Royals, Control Z, and Disclosure." GLAAD was quick to reply with a statement of its own: "Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on the platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that."

Meanwhile, Netflix is not standing behind a trans employee who wrote a viral Twitter thread denouncing Chappelle's special, though the company tells the Verge that thread was not the reason for her suspension. Rather, Terra Field and two other employees who were also suspended tried to attend a director-level meeting to which they hadn't been invited, the AV Club reports. Field's thread, which memorializes trans people who've been murdered, can be read in full here. Another trans employee reportedly quit after Netflix decided not to pull the special. (Read more Netflix stories.)

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