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Netflix denies suspending employees over Dave Chappelle criticism

Netflix denies suspending employees over Dave Chappelle criticism
/ © Cover Media

Netflix officials have denied reports suggesting that employees were suspended for criticising Dave Chappelle's latest stand-up comedy special.

The streaming giant faced backlash from employees last week after releasing The Closer, where the 48-year-old comedian made disparaging remarks that have been largely condemned by the LGBTQ community.

"Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness - all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You're going to hear a lot of talk about 'offense.' We are not offended," Netflix software engineer Terra Field, who identifies as queer and transgender, tweeted. "What we object to is the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women."

According to several reports, Field and two other employees crashed the company's quarterly business review meeting to protest the special. Field claims she was suspended for publicly criticising the company's decision to release the special, which a spokesperson for Netflix has since denied.

"It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show," the spokesperson said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."

In an internal memo obtained by Variety, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos reportedly told senior staff members "some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do."

"Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him," he continued. "As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom - even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful."

Sarandos further said he does not believe that The Closer violates the company's content guidelines, which prohibits titles "designed to incite hate or violence."

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