Netflix has suspended a trans employee who tweeted about Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer. In the stand-up set, which was released on October 5th, Chappelle doubles down on his jokes about LGBTQ groups.
The next day, Netflix software engineer Terra Field tweeted about Chappelle, writing that the comedian “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness” in the special:
The tweet thread went viral, quickly spiraling into a conversation about free speech and cancel culture. Netflix then suspended Field along with two other employees for trying to attend a director-level meeting they weren’t invited to. Another trans employee is quitting the company over how the special — and Field’s comments — were handled.
In a statement emailed to The Verge, a Netflix spokesperson pushed back against the idea that Field was suspended for tweeting. “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employee for tweeting about this show,” they said. “Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”
The special has sparked significant controversy inside Netflix. (Disclosure: The Verge is producing a forthcoming show for Netflix.) Shortly after it came out, employees started asking pointed questions about whether or not trans people were included in the decision to air the special and where the company draws a line between commentary and transphobia.
“We repeatedly provide a platform for content that is harmful to the trans community,” wrote a current employee in Netflix’s open Q&A document. “These decisions have a material impact on our business, including harm to our current employees and talent declining to work with us. What is our plan on how we are going to repair this situation in particular?” None of the questions seen by The Verge asked for the special to be taken down…Read more>>