Netflix bosses are bracing themselves for an employee walkout and rally in Los Angeles today (October 20) due to backlash over Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special.
Netflix’s highly public controversy is in great part due to Chappelle’s The Closer, in which Chappelle describes himself as “Team TERF,” or trans-exclusionary radical feminist has caused for a rally to be organized.
Per Yahoo!, “A list of firm asks” will be presented to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos at the rally, which organizer Ashlee Marie Preston said had been moved to a larger site due to “overwhelming demand.” Organizers didn’t specify their demands ahead of the rally, although Preston said the event would call for content that prioritizes “the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities.”
Transgender Netflix employee Terra Field has called on the streaming giant to add a content warning to “The Closer,” and to promote more “queer and trans comedians and talent.”
“A place can’t be a great place to work if someone has to betray their community to do so,” Field wrote in a blog post Monday. Field took to Twitter today writing, “We got tired of waiting to be asked to dance, so today we’re throwing our own party. #NetflixWalkout”
Three employees including Field were reportedly suspended after crashing a virtual meeting for executives over the episode but later reinstated. Another employee was fired for leaking internal data about the cost of the episode.
“The Closer” has been condemned by LGBTQ groups, which cited studies linking stereotypes about minorities to real-world harm. Even actor Channing Tatum spoke out about how Chappelle’s special hurt many people.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos wrote to staff last week that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,” and emphasized the importance of defending “artistic freedom.”
The walkout and rally have drawn support from film and television celebrities such as Jameela Jamil and Jonathan Van Ness, who have recorded a video message expressing “love and support” for the movement.
Watch the trailer for “The Closer” below: