Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos reportedly doubled down on comedian Dave Chappelle’s company defense in a memo to staff this week, following criticism of the comic’s remarks on transgender people.
Variety first reported on Wednesday that Sarandos emailed all Netflix employees, saying that although some staff were “left angry, disappointed and hurt” by the decision to air the show special “The Closer”, he did not believe the content directly translated. to “evil in the real world”.
The LGBTQ community has argued this, claiming that Chappelle’s comments are based on harmful tropes that will only add to the persecution facing transgender Americans.
“With ‘The Closer’ we understand that the concern is not about content that is offensive to some, but about titles that could increase damage in the real world (such as the further marginalization of already marginalized groups, hatred, violence, etc. .), ”Sarandos wrote in the email, which was also obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “Last year we heard similar concerns about the ‘365 days’ and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a firm belief that on-screen content doesn’t translate directly into real-world damage.
Sarandos, who has already defended the special to managers last week, went on to say that Chappelle had made “tough jokes about many different groups” and that the management of the company “did not believe that” The Closer ” is intended to incite hatred or violence against anyone. ” The special includes derogatory remarks about LGBTQ people and defends offensive comments by Harry Potter author JK Rowling and rapper DaBaby. (The comedian largely ignored any criticism.)
Media watchdog GLAAD rejected Sarandos’ argument.
“Authentic media reports on LGBTQ lives have been cited as being directly responsible for increasing public support for issues such as marriage equality,” the group said in a statement about its latest memo. on duty. “But film and television have also been filled with stereotypes and misinformation about us for decades, leading to real-world damage, especially for trans people and LGBTQ people of color.”
Terra Field, a trans software engineer at Netflix who shared a viral comment thread, also lambasted Sarandos’ claims:
The AV Club reported that many Netflix employees are planning a company-wide walkout next week in response to the comments. The Hollywood Reporter added that staff cited Sarandos’ recent memo as a key factor in the event.