Photos: Dave Chappelle Special Boosts Netflix’s Walkout; “Trans lives matter”


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Netflix employees who stepped out Wednesday to protest Dave Chappelle’s special and his anti-transgender comments were joined by allies who chanted ‘Trans lives matter’, being pushed back against the cons. protesters who also showed up.

A rally before noon at a Netflix office-studio complex drew around 100 people, most from the side of about 30 workers at the streaming giant who subsequently joined. Some were willing to identify themselves as Netflix employees, but all declined to give their names.

FILE – Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle attends the “A Star Is Born” press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on September 9, 2018. Critics and supporters of Chappelle’s Netflix special which included anti-transgender comments collected outside the company offices on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, with “Trans Lives Matter” and “Free Speech is a Right” among their competing posts. (Photo by Evan Agostini / Invision / AP, file)

Joey Soloway, creator of the breakthrough Emmy-winning comedy “Transparent,” was among the speakers at the rally.

Chappelle’s decision to share “her outrage as comedic humiliation in front of thousands of people and then broadcast it to hundreds of millions of people is infinitely magnified gender violence,” they said.

“I want trans representation on the Netflix board this week (expletive),” the writer-director said.

Ashlee Marie Preston, activist and event organizer, addressed the rally and then spoke to The Associated Press. She said calling Chappelle for her remarks was not enough.

“It was important to focus on the people signing the checks because Dave Chappelle doesn’t sign the checks, Netflix does,” Preston said. “If we have companies like Netflix that don’t listen to their employees, that force their employees to participate in their own oppression, that’s unacceptable.”

“We are there to empower people. We’re not going anywhere, ”she said, adding that efforts were underway to start a dialogue with Netflix executives.

There were moments of scrambling between competing protesters, but the conflict was mostly limited to a war of words.

Leia Figueroa, a student from Los Angeles, does not work at Netflix but has said she wants to support the walkout. While the streaming service offers a positive rate for the LGBTQ community, she said, it goes both ways by also offering a show like Chappelle’s that includes derogatory comments about trans women.

If Netflix wants to be “an apolitical platform, then they should be,” Figueroa said. “But they say things like ‘Black lives matter’ and ‘We don’t stand for transphobia.’ If you say things like that, then you have to control all of your content to reflect your values. ”

As she spoke, a protester shouted, “We love jokes.

“I like funny jokes, and transphobia is no joke,” Figueroa replied.

Belissa Cohen, a former reporter, said she was on hand to “support Netflix’s decision not to remove” the special.

“We want to show that there is no unanimous support for the transgender ideology when it comes to Netflix viewers,” Cohen said.

She was one of a dozen people carrying signs that read “Freedom of speech is a right” and “The truth is not transphobic”. In front of them were those carrying signs that read “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “Transphobia is no fun”.

Elliot Page, who stars in Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” and is transgender, tweeted that he stands with the trans, non-binary, and people of color working at Netflix who are “fighting for more and better transgender stories and a more inclusive workplace”.

Team Trans (asterisk), which identifies as supporting “trans people working at Netflix trying to build a better world for our community”, posted what he calls a list of “requests” being made of Netflix by trans and non-binary workers and corporate allies.

They are calling on the company to “fix” its relationships with staff and the public with changes involving the hiring of trans executives and increased spending for trans and non-binary creators and projects.

“Harm reduction” is another request, which the list says includes recognition of what she called Netflix’s “liability for this harm caused by transphobic content, and in particular harm to the community. black trans ”.

He also called for disclaimers to flag content that includes “transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia” and hate speech.

In a statement, media watch group GLAAD said it applauds Netflix’s LGBTQ and black employees, allies and advocates “calling for responsibility and change within Netflix and the entertainment industry in his outfit”.

Employees who came out consistently referred reporters to the GLAAD statement.

Netflix has run into a buzz of critics not only with the special, but also in the way internal ratings have responded to employee concerns, including co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ assertion that “the content at l ‘screen does not translate directly into damage in the real world. “

Sarandos also wrote that Netflix does not allow titles “designed to incite hatred or violence, and we don’t think ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”

Critics, left, and supporters, right, of Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special and his anti-transgender comments exchange words as they gathered outside the company’s offices on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, with ” Trans Lives Matter ”and“ Freedom of speech is a right ”among their competing messages. (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes)

In interviews Tuesday, Sarandos said he failed to acknowledge that “a group of our employees are really suffering,” as he told The Wall Street Journal, and that his comment on the effect of television on viewers was an oversimplification.

Terra Field, who identifies on Twitter as a senior software engineer at Netflix and as a trans, posted tweets criticizing Chappelle’s special immediately after it aired and the comments were widely shared.

In his posts, Field said the comic was criticized not because its remarks are offensive, but for the harm they do to the trans community, especially black women. Field included a list of trans, non-binary men and women of color who she said were killed, adding in each case that the victim “is not offended.”


This story corrects the spelling of Belissa Cohen’s first name.

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