Dave Chappelle – Netflix CEO Continues To Support Comedian As 1,000 Trans Employees & Allies Allegedly Plan A Walkout Amid ‘The Closer’ Controversy

Dave Chappelle – Netflix CEO Continues To Support Comedian As 1,000 Trans Employees & Allies Allegedly Plan A Walkout Amid ‘The Closer’ Controversy

Netflix’s CEO is continuing to stand by Dave Chappelle and his latest stand-up special, The Closer.

Last Tuesday (Oct. 5th), Netflix unveiled The CloserDave Chappelle‘s sixth comedy special for the platform. While it has only been out for a short time, The Closer has polarized the nation due to its content, which many have slammed as anti-trans. At one point, the 48-year-old comedian claimed he’s a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) who believes that trans women aren’t ‘real’ women:

“I’m team TERF! Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is a fact. Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those p*ssies that they got… you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not p*ssy, but it’s Beyond P*ssy or Impossible P*ssy. It tastes like p*ssy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood, that’s beet juice.”

Since The Closer premiered, many have spoken out against the comedy special and Dave Chappelle. Some people and organizations, like the National Black Justice Coalition, have even called for Netflix to remove the stand-up special:

“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States–the majority of whom are Black transgender people–Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull ‘The Closer’ from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”

However, Tom Sarandos–Netflix’s co-CEO–stood by the comedian in a statement on the matter. Last Friday (Oct. 8th), he stated:

“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him… Stand-up comedy exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”

Dave Chappelle

Now, Sarandos is continuing to support Dave Chappelle. In a second statement issued earlier this week, he said:

“Content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm. The strongest evidence to support this is that violence on screens has grown hugely over the last thirty years, especially with first party shooter games, and yet violent crime has fallen significantly in many countries. Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse–or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy–without it causing them to harm others.”

Separately, a Netflix spokesperson also stated:

“Dave Chappelle’s specials are consistently the most-watched comedy specials on Netflix, and have earned many awards, including both an Emmy and a Grammy for Sticks and Stones. We support artistic expression for our creators. We also encourage our employees to disagree openly.”

These statements are reportedly in response to rumors that some Netflix employees are allegedly staging a walkout. At least 1,000 Netflix employees are reportedly planning a virtual walkout next Wednesday (Oct. 20th) to protest Sarandos‘ stance. One employee revealed that the co-CEO’s statements on the matter are largely fueling the walkout:

“The memo was very disrespectful. It didn’t invite a robust conversation about this hard topic, and that’s normally how things go.”

It’s also worth noting that Sarandos‘ second statement was slammed by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)–specifically regarding the point that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm”:

“GLAAD was founded 36 years ago because media representation has consequences for LGBTQ people. Authentic media stories about LGBTQ lives have been cited as directly responsible for increasing public support for issues like marriage equality. But film and TV have also been filled with stereotypes and misinformation about us for decades, leading to real world harm, especially for trans people and LGBTQ people of color. Ironically, the documentary Disclosure on Netflix demonstrates this quite clearly.”

What do you think about the situation? Comment down below to let us know!


Authored by: Nick Fenley