Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos has doubled down on the company’s defense of comedian Dave Chappelle.
Variety reported Wednesday that a memo to staff from Saranos, following criticism over the comic’s remarks about transgender people, said that by the decision to air The Closer had some staffers
“angry, disappointed and hurt.”
Sarandos wrote in the email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter,
“With ‘The Closer,’ we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence, etc.).
Last year, we heard similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women.
While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”
Sarandos said that Chappelle had made “harsh jokes about many different groups” but Netflix did not believe that
‘The Closer’ is intended to incite hatred or violence against anyone.”
The special includes derogatory remarks about LGBTQ people and defends offensive comments made by author J.K. Rowling and rapper DaBaby.
The AV Club reports that many Netflix employees were planning a company-wide walkout next week in response to the comments. The Hollywood Reporter added that staff had cited Sarandos’ recent memo as a key driver of the event.
Media watchdog GLAAD rejected Sarandos’ argument saying about his latest memo,
“Authentic media stories about LGBTQ lives have been cited as directly responsible for increasing public support for issues like marriage equality.
But film and TV have also been filled with stereotypes and misinformation about us for decades, leading to real world harm, especially for trans people and LGBTQ people of color.”
Terra Field, a trans software engineer at Netflix, was suspended for attending an executive meeting to speak out against the special, along with 2 other staffers. They were later reinstated after a public firestorm over the firings.
Field shared a viral thread about the comments, slammed Sarandos’ theories.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again:— Terra Field (@RainofTerra) October 14, 2021
You can’t buy carbon offsets for bigotry. There is no cap and trade for hatred.
You cannot trash our community one moment and then complain when we don’t thank you for the scraps you give us. https://t.co/8D7FxuW7NK