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1K Netflix Workers Plan Walkout Over Chappelle Special

Virtual walkout to protest company's support of the special deemed harmful to trans people
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2021 6:39 AM CDT
At Netflix, 1K Employees Plan Walkout Over Chappelle Special
Dave Chappelle arrives at the 22nd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 27, 2019, in Washington, DC.   (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – An employee group at Netflix is planning a walkout over the company's continued support of a Dave Chappelle stand-up special that some say is offensive to transgender people. The transgender-employee group and allies are planning a virtual walkout for Wednesday in protest of the company's defense of The Closer, in which Chappelle states that "gender is a fact," per the Wall Street Journal. He defends JK Rowling, who was criticized for saying essentially the same, noting some have labeled her a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also identifies himself as "team TERF," per the Hollywood Reporter.

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Netflix software engineer Terra Field, who is transgender, criticized the show a day after its release, arguing Chappelle had attacked "the trans community, and the very validity of transness" and such comments put transgender people at risk. (Field and two other employees were suspended, then reinstated after attending a virtual meeting meant only for senior staffers.) LGBTQ-rights advocacy group GLAAD also condemned the special, while the National Black Justice Coalition requested Netflix remove it. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos refused on Monday, saying he didn't think it incites hate or violence.

"Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse—or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy—without it causing them to harm others," he wrote in a companywide email, per THR. He added the company's support of creative freedom means "there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful." THR reports at least 1,000 employees plan to participate in the virtual walkout, which the Los Angeles Times refers to as a "day of rest." A staffer says participating employees will not be working but instead donating to charities and encouraging others to watch content that supports trans people. (Read more Netflix stories.)

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