Netflix employees who walked out Wednesday in protest of Dave Chappelle's special and its anti-transgender comments were joined by allies who chanted "Trans lives matter," getting pushback from counterprotesters who also showed up. A pre-noon rally at a Netflix office-studio complex in Los Angeles drew about 100 people, the AP reports, most on the side of an estimated 30 workers at the streaming giant who joined in afterward. There were a few moments of shoving and pushing among the competing demonstrators, but the conflict was mostly limited to exchanges of words. Joey Soloway, creator of the groundbreaking Emmy-winning comedy Transparent, was among the speakers at the rally.
Chappelle's decision to share "his outrage as comedic humiliation in front of thousands of people, and then broadcasting it to hundreds of millions of people, is infinitely amplified gender violence," the writer-director said. "I want trans representation on the Netflix board, this (expletive) week." Ashlee Marie Preston, the event's organizer, said later that calling out Chappelle for his remarks wasn't enough. "It was important to shift the focus to the people that sign the checks, because Dave Chappelle doesn't sign checks, Netflix does," Preston said. “If we have companies like Netflix who aren't listening to their employees, who are forcing their employees to participate in their own oppression, that’s unacceptable."
Leia Figueroa doesn't work at Netflix but wanted to back the walkout, per the AP. While the streaming service offers positive fare for the LGBTQ community, she said, Netflix is trying to have it both ways by also offering a show that includes disparaging comments about trans women. "They're saying things like ‘Black lives matter’ and 'We don’t stand for transphobia.' If you say things like that, then you have to be vetting all of your content to reflect your values," Figueroa said. Belissa Cohen, a former journalist, came to support the decision to run the special. "We want to show that there isn’t unanimous support about transgender ideology when it comes to Netflix viewers," Cohen said. (Netflix boss says he "screwed up.")