Ex-Employees Go After Netflix With Unfair Labor Charge Over Dave Chappelle Special

By Doug Norrie | 1 week ago

dave chappelle

The aftereffects and fallout from the Dave Chappelle special The Closer don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon for Netflix. The streamer has been hit with a wave of negative press ever since airing the special a couple of weeks ago and the hits, as they were, keep on coming. Deadline is reporting that an ex-employee of the streamer and one who had been suspended have filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board claiming Netflix engaged in unfair labor practices.

The filing with the National Labor Relations Board came from ex-Netflix employees B. Pagels-Minor as well as Terra Field. They name Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos as the representative for the company and claim that the company engaged in “retaliation” against them in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Dave Chappelle special. The filing goes on to say that Netflix engaged in activity to “quell” employees from speaking out about the company. They claim to have been treated in an “unlawful and disparate manner”. 

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that is often tasked with large-scale workplace disputes and sometimes, negotiations. They tend to make rulings about specific labor practices while also lobbying employers to make changes on behalf of employees. In the case of the Netflix complaints because of the Dave Chappelle special, it’s a bit unclear what kind of remedy the board is seeking with this complaint filed. The NLRB doesn’t have the authority to actually hand out punitive damages or charges, but they’ve had success in ramping up pressure on employers to make major changes. 

Netflix has said, that they did not make any employment decisions because of folks speaking out about the Dave Chappelle special. It had previously been reported that Netflix had terminated B. Pagels-Minor because of an alleged code of conduct infraction for the company. It was believed that this decision was made after they believed Pagels-Minor to have leaked confidential company information about the Dave Chappelle special and other data to the media. The streamer hasn’t specifically said this and Pagels-Minor has denied doing this. Meanwhile, Terra Field was not terminated but suspended by the streamer for apparently attending a meeting that she shouldn’t have. 

dave chappelle netflix

What comes from this most recent filing isn’t totally clear. The National Labor Relations Board will likely open some sort of investigation. What is clear is that the Dave Chappelle special has caused at least a moderate (maybe severe) headache for Netflix. When the comedian spoke out his relationship with the transgender community there were many who took umbrage with his tone and choice of words. The backlash has included planned walkouts, public denouncements from other creators on the streamer, and now possible legal action. As for Dave Chappelle, well he hasn’t backed down at all from what he said during the special, even taking to the stage to a packed house in New Orleans on Friday to talk about it.

There is sure to be more in the coming days from Netflix about if they plan any new course of action around the Dave Chappelle special. In the past, they’ve said there were no plans to remove it from their library. That is likely still the case. But new labor charges could begin to shift that.