Workers at Netflix reportedly are planning to stage a “virtual walkout” over comedian Dave Chappelle’s standup special, “The Closer,” which some employees and critics have panned for being anti-transgender.
The walkout is being led by some transgender employees who were involved in a separate incident in which confidential metrics about the Chappelle special were released.
It’s unclear how extensive the walkout will be, but employees are expected to issue demands, such as the need for a disclaimer on the special.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has defended the special, saying he did not think the jokes about transgender topics would generate a negative impact on society or violence.
However, he has made some apologies of late, saying he should have acknowledged some of the complaints from within the company.
“I should have first and foremost acknowledged in those emails that a group of our employees were in pain, and they were really feeling hurt from a business decision that we made,” Mr. Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I, instead of acknowledging that first, I went right into some rationales.”
Employees who objected to the special appeared to focus on a part of the show that supports author J.K. Rowling’s assertion that gender is an immutable fact.
“I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” Mr. Chappelle, 48, said in “The Closer.” “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.”
In the special, Mr. Chappelle talks about his friendship with transgender comic Daphne Dorman, who killed herself after tangling with activists. She had defended Mr. Chappelle as an artist and said he was not a bully.
“Punching down requires you to consider yourself superior to another group. @DaveChappelle doesn’t consider himself better than me in any way,” Dorman tweeted amid controversy over prior Chappelle specials in 2019. “He isn’t punching up or punching down. He‘s punching lines. That’s his job and he‘s a master of his craft.”
Mr. Chappelle, in his latest special, noted that Dorman started life as a man before transitioning to a woman and that she jumped off a building.
“Only a man would do some gangster [stuff] like that,” he said.