Netflix has confirmed that they fired an employee for leaking that it paid Dave Chappelle $24.1 million for his controversial comedy special The Closer.
A spokesperson for the company announced on Friday: ‘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.’
The longtime employee was fired for sharing that Netflix spent $24.1 million on The Closer and $23.6 million on his 2019 special Sticks & Stones.
In comparison, the company spent $3.9 million for Bo Burnham’s critically acclaimed comedy special Inside and $21.4 million for Squid Game, which became Netflix’s biggest series launch.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings defended the platform’s decision to continue streaming Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special The Closer
Dave Chappelle continues to face backlash over the controversial contents of his latest Netflix special which critics say were transphobic
Activists have been clamoring for the title’s removal from Netflix, with a number of the company’s employees scheduled to stage a walkout in protest
A leaked transcript from an internal Netflix message board between company employees recorded disagreements about Chappelle’s controversial comedy special.
Hastings told employees that Chappelle is ‘a unique voice’ as he defended the comedian who has come under fire for his defense of author J.K. Rowling and jokes a vocal few are calling transphobic.
Transgender employees are so upset by The Closer and Netflix’s stance that they are planning a walkout on October 20.
When one employee asked if the company was ‘making the wrong historical choice around hate speech’ on the internal message board, Hastings replied ‘To your macro question on being on the right side of history, we will always continue to reflect on the tensions between freedom and safety.
‘I do believe that our commitment to artistic expression and pleasing our members is the right long term choice for Netflix, and that we are on the right side, but only time will tell,’ according to The New York Times.
He also noted that Chappelle is popular with viewers, citing the ‘stickiness’ of his most recent special.
The Closer has scored 96 per cent positive reviews from regular viewers on Rotten Tomatoes – but just 43 per cent from woke critics.
Hastings wrote: ‘The core strategy is to please our members.’
‘In stand-up comedy, comedians say lots of outrageous things for effect. Some people like the art form, or at least particular comedians, and others do not.’
Another employee claimed that the famous comedian had a history of homophobia and bigotry.
Hastings replied: ‘We disagree with your characterization and we’ll continue to work with Dave Chappelle in the future.
‘We see him as a unique voice, but can understand if you or others never want to watch his show.’
He continued: ‘We do not see Dave Chappelle as harmful, or in need of any offset, which we obviously and respectfully disagree on.’
This comes as Hastings’ fellow co-chief executive, Ted Sarandos, was dragged by Australian lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby after he used her comedy specials as examples of the streaming platform’s efforts for inclusivity as he defended Chappelle and his comedy special.
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos has defended Dave Chappelle’s The Closer special to his staff, telling them in an email ‘content on screen doesn’t translate to real-world harm’
Lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby dragged Sarando on Instagram for using her name to defend Chappelle and Netflix’s ‘amoral algorithm cult’
Sarandos said that Netflix ‘was working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story’ specifically noting ‘we have Sex Education, Orange Is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.’
Gadsby, who has two comedy specials on Netflix, rose to fame after her first special Nanette began streaming on Netflix in 2018.
She posted on Instagram asking Sarandos not to ‘drag [her] name into [his] mess.’
‘F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult…’ she wrote.
Sarandos addressed staff anger over Netflix’s decision to stream The Closer in a company wide email.
‘We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix,’ Sarandos wrote in the email, obtained by Variety.
‘With ‘The Closer,’ we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.)
‘Last year, we heard similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,’ he continued.
Movie 365 Days, referenced by Sarandos, is about an Italian mafia boss who kidnaps a woman he’s infatuated with and demands she spend the next year in his villa.
The movie was slammed by survivors of sexual assault, with singer Duffy writing in an open letter to CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings that it ‘glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape.’
Sarandos’ memo continued, ‘The strongest evidence to support this is that violence on screens has grown hugely over the last thirty years, especially with first party shooter games, and yet violent crime has fallen significantly in many countries.
‘Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse – or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy – without it causing them to harm others,’ he said.
Hannah Gadsby calls out Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos for defending Dave Chappelle
The Australian lesbian comedian dragged Sarandos on Instagram:
‘Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess.
Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view.
You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted.
F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult…
I do s**ts with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke!
I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.’
GLAAD, a queer media watchdog, contested Sarandos’ claim, with a spokesperson telling Variety the organization was ‘founded 36 years ago because media representation has consequences for LGBTQ people.
‘Authentic media stories about LGBTQ lives have been cited as directly responsible for increasing public support for issues like marriage equality,’ they said.
‘But film and TV have also been filled with stereotypes and misinformation about us for decades, leading to real world harm, especially for trans people and LGBTQ people of color. Ironically, the documentary ‘Disclosure’ on Netflix demonstrates this quite clearly.
In The Closer, Chapelle backed author J.K. Rowling over her comments on gender, said ‘gender is a fact’, and announced ‘I’m team TERF.’ TERF stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.
The term is generally used by some trans people and their allies to attack others who disagree with some parts of their call for equality for Trans people.
Hot button issues include whether trans women and girls should be allowed to compete against girls in some sports, whether trans women should be able to access certain spaces – including women’s prisons and domestic violence shelters – and whether children who believe themselves to be trans should be given hormones to delay the onset of puberty.
Those who have criticized Chapelle’s jokes have specifically cited the physical danger faced by the trans community as a result of anti-trans ideology.
The family of a trans woman who Chappelle said was hounded to death for defending his jokes in a 2019 Netflix show have slammed the woke mob trying to cancel him, saying they do not know how much he did for her.
The Closer will be Chappelle’s last stand up special on Netflix before he takes a break
Daphne Dorman, 44, was a transgender amateur comic opened for comedian Dave Chappelle
Daphne Dorman was 44 when she killed herself in 2019 after defending her friend Chappelle for jokes made during a Netflix special that year.
‘When she did that, the trans community dragged that b**** through Twitter,’ Chappelle told the audience in The Closer.
‘For days, they was going in on her and she was on her own because she’s funny,’ he continued, hinting the harassment might have contributed to her suicide.
‘It’s a true story; my heart was broken. I don’t know what was going on, but I’ll bet dragging her didn’t help.’
Dorman, who began transitioning to a woman in 2014, was an up-and-coming comedian who opened a show for Chappelle.
Her humor veiled a dark past mired by a troubled childhood that left her with severe PTSD, her family said.
But despite her inner demons, she tapped into her comedy to make the world around her laugh, her sister said.
Her sister brushed off critics who have slammed Chappelle’s transgender jokes, saying the comedian ‘loved’ Dorman and said people cannot demand that ‘everyone see it your way’.