Netflix’s Trans Staff Plan Walkout in Protest of Exec’s Statement on Anti-Trans Content

Netflix's Trans Employee Resource Group is planning a company-wide walkout on 20 October 2021 in protest of co-Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos' remarks on Dave Chappelle's comedy special "The Closer". "The Closer" was recently added to Netflix's catalogue and drew flak from the LGBTQ+ community as it contained transphobic jokes.

Credit: Thibault Penin via Unsplash

"Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!" read an internal message announcing the walkout.


Sarandos found no harm in Chappelle's special, as reflected in a company memo.

Credit: Netflix

"Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don't allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don't believe The Closer crosses that line," Sarandos wrote in an internal memo dated 8 October 2021, three days following the comedy special's release.


After the comedy special came out on Netflix, employees began raising questions about whether or not trans people were part of the decision to air the special on the platform. They also asked where the streaming company draws a line between commentary and transphobia.


According to Netflix employees, Sarandos' comments only worsened the situation. The co-CEO then wrote a second memo, which read: "Our hope is that you can be hugely inspired by entertaining the world, while also living with titles you strongly believe have no place on Netflix. This will not be the last title that causes some of you to wonder if you can still love Netflix. I sincerely hope that you can."

Before the initial memo was sent to staff members, Netflix Senior Software Engineer Terra Field tweeted about Chappelle's special, where the comedian "attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness".


Field's tweet thread went viral and afterwards, she was suspended along with two other employees for attending a director-level meeting that they weren't invited to.

The three staff members were then reinstated after Netflix found no ill intent in their attending the meeting.

Written by Sophia Lopez

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