Fed up with Chappelle fallout, Netflix employees are leading a walkout in LA

Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Online, Field has remained outspoken about the special’s impact on the trans community. This week, she published a Medium essay, titled “It Was Never About Dave,” reflecting on “The Closer” and why she felt compelled to hold her employer accountable.

“Dave is not, and has never been, the cause of this problem — he is a symptom of it,” she wrote.

“That Dave believes the things he says and can say them with relative impunity is a result of the culture we live in: a culture that marginalizes and devalues trans people. He contributes to that culture in a very real way, but at least he isn’t out there bragging about how many LGBTQ+ allyship awards he has won while he is doing it.”

Field also pushed back on a recent email sent from Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos to staff that doubled down on his defense of the special and argued that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

“When a company like Netflix says something like, ‘We do not believe this content is harmful to the transgender community,’ you can be virtually certain that not a single trans person was involved in that decision,” Field wrote.

“And how are we supposed to speak up for ourselves if we aren’t in the room? And how are Black trans women supposed to speak up for themselves if the company doesn’t employ any (that our ERG is aware of)?”

Netflix did not immediately respond Tuesday to the L.A. Times’ request for comment.

Also in response to Sarandos’ widely criticized missive, GLAAD — a watchdog organization advocating for authentic LGBTQ+ representation in entertainment — pointed out that “Disclosure,” a documentary released by Netflix, directly refutes the co-CEO’s argument. Directed by Sam Feder, the doc illustrates how the trans community has suffered as a result of negative media portrayals throughout film and TV history.


(It’s also worth noting that Feder recently accused Netflix of paying only half the production costs of “Disclosure” to stream the film. Netflix declined to comment.)

Organizers of this week’s walkout have asked Netflix to make “Disclosure” more visible on the platform, especially “alongside and after content flagged as anti-trans.”

Immediately following Wednesday’s walkout, a nearby rally hosted by activist Ashlee Marie Preston will present Sarandos with a “list of firm asks ... rooted in our collective capacity to create change.”

According to Variety, a number of LGBTQ+ celebrities — including Jonathan Van Ness (“Queer Eye”), Angelica Ross (“Pose”) and Jameela Jamil (“Legendary”) — will participate in the rally via a PSA in solidarity with Netflix staff.

“We shouldn’t have to show up quarterly/annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities,” Preston posted Monday on Instagram.

“Instead, we aim to use this moment to shift the social ecology around what Netflix leadership deems ethical entertainment, while establishing policies and guidelines that protect employees and consumers, alike. ... Cross-cultural solidarity is an indomitable force that moves all of us forward. We hope to see you there!”


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