Netflix fires organiser of employee walkout in row over Dave Chappelle special

Streaming service accuses employee of leaking confidential data relating to comedian’s controversial performance

Sam Moore
Saturday 16 October 2021 15:51
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Netflix has fired an organiser of the transgender employee walkout that was planned for 20 October amid continuing controversy over a Dave Chappelle stand-up special.

According to The Verge, the employee is Black and pregnant. They had been rallying employees of the streaming service to walk out in protest against the comedian’s latest special, The Closer.

Netflix confirmed to Variety that it had let the employee go due to “sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company”.

A statement from the streaming service said: “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”

The information in question relates to financial figures for The Closer, including what Netflix paid Chappelle and how many people watched the special.

The figures ended up in a Bloomberg report, revealing that Chappelle was paid $24.1m (£17.5m) for The Closer and $23.6m (£17.1m) for his previous special, Sticks and Stones.

Netflix and Chappelle have come under heavy criticism since the release of the special, with many labelling it “transphobic”.

Chappelle’s comments that he is “team TERF” (which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist) in particular drew backlash and led to transgender Netflix employees organising a walkout in protest.

Chappelle has come under heavy criticism since the release of the comedy special

Netflix boss, Ted Sarandos, has defended Chappelle, saying in a memo to staff: “We have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

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Sarandos himself has been criticised for how he has handled the backlash, most notably by comedian Hannah Gadsby, who has also released specials for the streamer.

Netflix previously suspended three employees who had spoken out against Chappelle on Twitter, but later reinstated them.

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