A group of Netflix employees recently gathered outside of the streaming giant’s 13-story California offices and held a trans-right protest in response to Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special, but about as many people reportedly came out in support of Chappelle than they did in protest of the comedian.
Close to 200 people participated in the employee walkout organized by the Netflix employees calling themselves “Team Trans,” led by Ashlee Marie Preston, a black trans woman. While several protesters took turns on the mic addressing the crowd, labeling Chappelle’s “The Closer” special as transphobic, The New York Post reports that a group of counter-protestors stood close to Preston and their allies, holding signs in support of Chappelle, and comedians in general.
One Chappelle supporter even interrupted Preston’s speech. The pro-Chappelle crowd were carrying signs with messages such as “We Like Jokes” to go against Preston’s signs that had messages such as “Hate Isn’t Funny” on them. Footage from the protest can be seen below.
The protest and walkout is something we’ve seen at tech giants like Facebook and Google in recent years, but this is believed to be the first of that nature for Netflix, the latest development in the weeks-long fight inside Netflix over the Chappelle “Closer” special.
Protesters have offered Netflix a list of demands, and asked that trans-affirming content be promoted alongside content they viewed as anti-trans. Protestors have also called on Netflix to hire more trans and non-binary people, on and off-screen.
Another demand was that Netflix add a disclaimer to the Chappelle special to warn people that it “contains transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia, and hate speech.” Netflix has considered the warning.
Netflix released a statement hours before the walkout, stating: “We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content.”
While a swell of support for Chappelle can be found from viewers on social media, he also has vocal support from stars like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher.
Chappelle has said he will take “The Closer” on tour if Netflix pulls his sixth comedy special on the platform. The comedian issued a statement this week and said he will meet with LGBTQ activists under certain conditions.
What do you make of the Chappelle “Closer” controversy? Have you watched the Netflix special?
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