Netflix’s trans employee resource group is planning a Team Trans* employee walk-out on October 20th at the Netflix office located at 1341 Vine St.
The walk-out is in response to the highly controversial stand-up comedy special by Dave Chapelle entitled “The Closer” in which Chapelle doubles down on his jokes about LGBTQ groups and decisions made by Netflix regarding the special.
After receiving backlash from the LGBTQ community including GLAAD, which wrote on Twitter that “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.” In a statement to Variety, the National Black Justice Coalition said: “Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.” Netflix decided not to remove the special.
The day after the special aired, trans Netflix software engineer Terra Field tweeted about Chappelle, writing that the comedian “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness” in the special.
The tweet thread went viral, quickly spiraling into a conversation about free speech and cancel culture. Netflix then suspended Field along with two other employees for trying to attend a director-level meeting they weren’t invited to. Another trans employee is quitting the company over how the special — and Field’s comments — were handled however days later Netflix reinstated the suspended employees.
In a statement a company spokesperson pushed back against the idea that Field was suspended for tweeting. “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employee for tweeting about this show,” they said. “Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”
Trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston is assisting the organization of the Team Trans* employee walk-out.
Posts from Preston’s social media platforms are informing the public on the details of the walk-out:
“Activists/Creators, grassroots organizers, public figures and supporters spanning multiple communities are encouraged to come together to underscore the importance of responsible content offerings that prioritize the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities.”
Preston states, “We shouldn’t have to show up annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities. Instead, we aim to use this movement to shift the social ecology around what Netflix leadership deems ethical entertainment, while establishing policies and guidelines that protect employees and consumers, alike.”
A list of firm requests will be presented to the co-CEO/Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and shared with members of the press and rally attendees following the walk-out scheduled for Wednesday October 20th at 10:30am.
Attendees are encouraged to use the hashtags #NetflixWalkOut #TeamTrans #TransphobiaIsNotAJoke
Team Trans* shirts are also available for purchase and the proceeds will go to Trans Lifeline. According to its website Trans Lifeline is “a grassroots hotline and microgrants 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community”.
Attendees are also encouraged to wear masks and comply with CDC guidelines regarding COVID.