Netflix Fires Trans Employee Who Planned Walkout Protest

By Doug Norrie | 3 weeks ago

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Netflix remains under some fire surrounding the most recent special on the platform, this one by Dave Chappelle. The comedian’s takes on the transgender community have drawn ire in certain circles and there remains something of a stalemate between employees at the company and how the streamer views the situation internally. This past week, Netflix terminated one employee who had planned a trans employee walkout. But the termination wasn’t related to this potential work stoppage action, but rather for what the company deemed a violation of some of their internal policies around data and the press. 

According to The Verge, the Netflix employee who had requested anonymity in the situation was terminated by the streamer because they were allegedly suspected of leaking internal documents to a variety of media sources. This kind of leak is against company policies regarding internal data and apparently was grounds for termination. In the Verge reporting, Netflix had spoken about the issue and said, “We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company. 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.”

This Netflix employee had also apparently been planning a trans employee walkout at the company that was set to take place on October 20th. The walkout was meant to raise awareness about what some felt was a misstep by Netflix in airing the Dave Chappelle special. In Closer, Dave Chappelle spent time talking about the transgender community, aligning himself with author J.K. Rowling who has become a lightning rod because of her views on the subject. Numerous employees and creators associated with Netflix had spoken out about their disappointment in the streamer’s choice to air the special. 

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The released documents detailed the data around the Dave Chappelle Closer as well as other specials he had put on the platform. Though Netflix is typically extremely tight-lipped and somewhat secretive about what they deem to be “valuable” on their platform, this data, which reached Bloomberg, shed some light on how they viewed this Dave Chappelle special. 

This data on Bloomberg suggested that the streamer “lost” money on previous specials like Sticks and Stones because it had less “impact” for their platform than what they paid the comedian. That latter number apparently was just south of $24 million dollars.  They spent about the same amount on Closer. 

This wasn’t the only fallout from the Dave Chappelle special and the subsequent reaction. Earlier in the week, the streamer had suspended an employee for speaking out against the content of Closer, expressing disappointment in what was said. 

Netflix does not appear inclined to take down the special, with co-chief executive officer Ted Sarandos sending out an internal memo that showed support for the comedian and Closer. And Dave Chappelle, for his part, isn’t backing off the comments either. This situation isn’t likely to die down anytime soon with continued calls from different folks to have Netflix take down the special. With that unlikely to happen, we could see more employees take a stand against the company.