Employees have pushed back on Netflix’s handling of a comedy special by Dave Chappelle that included jokes about trans people.
Netflix on Friday said it has fired an employee for leaking internal information to the press about Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up comedy special “The Closer.”
The employee, who has not been named, was a leader of a trans employee resource group and was helping organize a walkout on Oct. 20 in protest of the company’s handling of the Chappelle special, according to a report by The Verge.
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Netflix said that they fired the employee for leaking internal information that was used in a recent Bloomberg story that discussed viewership metrics and pay for comedians with Netflix specials. Additionally, the employee was the only one who accessed the metrics and admitted to sharing them externally, according to Netflix.
“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”
The firing comes as Netflix has faced employee backlash for jokes Chappelle made in his new special “The Closer” about trans people, both in general and about specific people he knew. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has defended the comedy special from criticism and concerns over the danger of the jokes to trans people by saying, “Content on the screen doesn’t directly translate to real world harm,” according to an email obtained by Variety. He went on to argue that people can watch “shocking stand-up comedy” without being incited to hurt others.
Employees and activists have pushed back by pointing out the extreme fatality rates trans people face, especially trans people of color, due to violent crime.