Netflix reinstated three of its employees, who were suspended after they criticised the streaming platform’s new Dave Chappelle comedy special, The Closer. The streamer, however, stressed that the three were not suspended for their criticisms, but rather over their unauthorised attendance at a high-level meeting.
A Netflix spokesperson is quoted by Deadline as saying, “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”
Soon after, one of the suspended employees, Terra Field, shared the news of her reinstatement on Twitter. She wrote, “Netflix has reinstated me after finding that there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting,” and added that she felt vindicated.
Netflix has reinstated me after finding that there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting. I've included the statement I requested below.
I'm going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I'm at. At the very least, I feel vindicated. pic.twitter.com/lYxemYgRkJ
— Terra Field (@RainofTerra) October 13, 2021
Dave Chappelle’s The Closer premiered on Netflix on October 5. Throughout the performance, Chappelle is seen passing homophobic and anti-trans remarks. Soon after the release, Field had tweeted about the show and wrote that Chappelle “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups.”
Her suspension came on Monday just as Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle and said that his stand-up does not cross the line on hate.
In an office memo, obtained by Variety, Sarandos had addressed staff members on the stand-up special and defended Chappelle. He offered guidelines to managers on how to handle upset and angry employees.
The memo was sent after Netflix’s quarterly business review (QBR), a two-day gathering of the top 500 employees at the company. It was the same meeting that Field and the two other employees had attended without authorisation.
Sarandos wrote that Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today and that Netflix has a long standing deal with him. “As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom – even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful,” he wrote.
GLADD, an organisation which works for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ people in the entertainment industry, reacted to Sarandos’ memo on Twitter and wrote, “Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on the platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that.”
GLADD further added, “While Netflix is home to groundbreaking LGBTQ stories, now is the time for Netflix execs to listen to LGBTQ employees, industry leaders, and audiences and commit to living up to their own standards.”