Ted Sarandos, Netflix Inc.'s Chief Executive Officer, defended his company's decision to air a controversial Dave Chappelle comedy special that featured trans jokes and artistic freedom.
He wrote that Netflix does not allow any titles that incite hatred or violence and that The Closer is not allowed to be on the platform. This was in a memo he sent last Monday, which Variety Monday obtained. Because the goals of artistic freedom are to entertain people rather than maintain a productive, respectful workplace, especially stand-up comedy, it is evident that artistic freedom is a different standard than what we allow internally.
According to someone familiar with the matter, the company also suspended three employees who crashed a meeting of the executive board last week. Terra Field was a transgender worker who voiced opposition to the Chappelle special.
We object to the harm this content does to trans people (especially trans people of colour) and specifically Black trans women, Field wrote last week in a series viral tweets.
Bloomberg News was told by a spokesperson for Netflix that no employees were fired because of their tweets, and that open discussion is encouraged at the company. Field did not respond to a request for comment.
The jokes that Chappelles made about gay people and transgender people have been criticized since Chappelles special debuted last week. Chappelle claimed he was part of team TERF, and joked about the genitals of trans women. Jaclyn Moore, a transgender writer and producer, announced last week that she will no longer be working for the streaming service. Moore was the producer and writer for Netflix's Dear White People series, which just concluded.
Netflix was asked by the National Black Justice Coalition to remove the special. This civil rights group is dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of Black LGBTQ communities.
Sarandos stated in the memo that Netflix did not plan to do this. Sarandos stated that the comedians' offerings are among Netflix's most popular. Sticks & Stones is his most-watched, stickiest, and most awarded stand-up special.
According to Business Insider, Chapelle was reported to have been paid $60 million for three deals. The streaming network's sixth deal is with The Closer.
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