Transgender Netflix employees and co-workers will stage a walkout next week protesting the streaming giant’s decision to release Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, multiple Netflix staffers have confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.
On Oct. 20, members of the Netflix employee resource group Trans* and their allies will take a “day of rest” prompted by their concerns about Chappelle’s “The Closer,” which includes several transphobic remarks.
“I encourage all [members of] Trans* and allies not to work for Netflix that day. ... As we’ve discussed through Slack, email, texts and everything in between, our leadership has shown us that they do not uphold the values for which we are held,” a Netflix employee posted Monday in a public, company Slack channel comprising more than 800 staffers representing “gender minorities of all sorts and their allies,” in a message reviewed by the L.A. Times.
“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. I don’t know about you, but asking for us to show the whole story and not just the pieces that harm trans and [LGBTQ+] people is not an unreasonable ask,” the employee’s Slack statement continued.
“So, I encourage us all to state clearly that we, as Netflix employees are stunning not simply when we are doing the work that our roles demand of us but also when we challenge the very principles of our company.”
Another Netflix employee, who like other employees interviewed for this story asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, confirmed to the L.A. Times that the demonstration will follow a virtual event on Oct. 19 that will be open to all employees and will be hosted by gender-nonconforming writer and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon to discuss the Chappelle special’s impact on the trans community.
Netflix did not immediately respond Wednesday to the L.A. Times’ request for comment.
According to another Netflix staffer, the walkout is meant to pressure the streaming giant to acknowledge the harm caused by Chappelle’s transphobic comments. The comedian said he supported “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who has been labeled a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) for repeatedly expressing anti-trans sentiments.
Organizers of the protest are also demanding that Netflix commit to releasing more LGBTQ+ content on the platform. They are not expecting the company to remove the special, especially after Netflix co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos announced that the streamer would keep it despite mounting criticism.
News of the walkout comes shortly after Netflix suspended three employees, allegedly for attending a quarterly business review, or QBR meeting, that they were not invited to, during which directors and vice presidents at the company discussed the fallout from the Chappelle special.