Dave Chapelle has stirred major controversy over his latest Netflix comedy special, particularly among the trans community. Chapelle’s comedy special, The Closer became a major issue for the company after Netflix fired a trans employee for criticizing the comedian’s transphobic act. Chapelle himself remains unapologetic.

Senior software engineer at Netflix Terra Field was the employee who was fired after criticizing the content of Chapelle’s special and intruding into an executives-only meeting along with two other employees to voice their displeasure. Netflix has since reinstated her.

Led and inspired by Field, the trans employee resource group at Netflix is planning a walkout in protest of the treatment of trans people by the company. The walkout is scheduled to take place on October 20th.

An internal Netflix memo making its rounds on the internet urged employees to do better. “We can and must do better,” the memo, which was initially posted by The Verge, said.


“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!” 

Meanwhile, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos actually took to Chapelle’s defense in a move that many saw as tone-deaf. He justified Chapelle’s comments by claiming creative freedom.

“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.”

Chapelle’s special remains on the streaming service as of this writing. Netflix appears to have no plans to make any changes regarding this content.

Should Chapelle’s transphobic rhetoric be removed from Netflix, or is it a matter of free speech? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a news contributor for Ringside News and Thirsty for News. Michael has an M.A. in Communication Technology from Point Park University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

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