The recent Netflix stand-up special of Dave Chappelle has sparked off some massive controversy, with a few employees being suspended. While previously media reports linked their suspension with the special, the streaming service has finally cleared the air and stated that it wasn’t due to public criticisms of the special.
A spokesperson for the company told Entertainment Weekly that the employees had been suspended for being part of a recent leadership meeting for which they didn’t have enough clearance. The official statement from the company read that the news of the employees getting suspended for expressing their beliefs was absolutely ludicrous. Rather, the company encouraged their employees to speak their minds.
Netflix Defends The Closer
Sources close to the situation have informed EW that Netflix was working the rounds and investigating the unauthorized meeting attendance of the employees, whilst confirming that one of the three people who were suspended was Terra Field- a senior software engineer- who identifies themselves as queer and trans.
This mixed in with the controversy as the release of the stand-up special of Chappelle ‘The Closer’ on the 5th of October had Field as one of the many voices which criticized the remarks of this comedian about transgender people.
According to a report in Variety, the co-CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos sent a staff memo on Friday which defended the release of The Closer. The memo stated there were quite a few employees who had asked about where the line was- about expressing hate speech.
But the company didn’t allow titles that were designed to incite violence or hate, and the higher-ups didn’t believe that Dave Chappelle’s show crossed that line. Also, it was pretty difficult to differentiate between commentary and harm with regards to stand-up comedy, so they couldn’t possibly remove it.
After that, Netflix didn’t comment on the memo when it was taken up.