Transgender Netflix employees are planning a walkout to protest Dave Chappelle‘s latest special, The Closer. The comedian first rose to prominence for his hit sketch series, Chappelle’s Show, which ran on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006. After leaving the show in the midst of the third season, Chappelle began touring as a stand-up comedian, eventually signing a deal with Netflix in 2016 to produce a series of specials, the first of which were Deep in the Heart of Texas and The Age of Spin.
Chappelle’s most recent Netflix special, titled The Closer, released on October 5 and has since been met with an uproar of controversy and accusations of transphobia. The comedian has made jokes before about the LGBTQ+ community which were met with disapproval, such as referring to them as “the alphabet people” in his previous special Stick & Stones. However, many feel Chappelle has crossed a line in The Closer, as he pokes fun at his past by referring to himself as transphobic and using multiple offensive epithets, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way. He ends the special with a plea to the LGBTQ+ community to stop punching down at comedians, which many feel flips the reality of the situation.
Now, a report from the Los Angeles Times indicates that transgender Netflix employees and their co-workers plan to stage a walkout next week in protest of Chapelle’s latest comedy special, according to multiple unnamed staffers of the streaming giant. The walkout will reportedly take place on October 20 for the purpose of pressuring Netflix to acknowledge the harm that Chappelle’s latest special has caused.
This report of a planned walkout comes after the news that Netflix will not be removing Chappelle’s controversial special over accusations of transphobia. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos defended the decision by saying he does not believe the special openly incites hate or violence. He also claims that Netflix’s commitment to creative freedom will always result in some content that people find harmful, using other controversial titles like 13 Reasons Why and Cuties as examples.
It seems that trans Netflix employees and their allies are staging a walkout with the intent of pressuring the streamer to acknowledge the harm Dave Chappelle‘s special has caused, rather than remove it, which Sarandos has already made clear they are not going to do. The debate over when comedy crosses a line and becomes harmful is an important one. That debate will rage on in the coming week as Netflix staffers move forward with their protest.
Source: LA Times