Netflix acknowledges what it says is “deeply hurt” caused by the company in its response to comedian Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special.
In a statement to ITK, a spokesman for the streaming service said, “We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the devastating damage it has caused.”
“We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize that we have more work to do both within Netflix and with our content,” the spokesperson added.
The statement came as employees of the streaming giant planning a walk out to express their satisfaction with Chappelle’s latest special comedy, “The Closer.”
In his special, Chappelle declared, “Gender is a reality.”
“Every man in this room, every man on the earth, has to pass through a woman’s legs to get to the earth. It is a fact, “he added.
At a separate point, he defended author JK Rowling to face off controversy after she said she was a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” or “TERF.”
As The Hill said, Chappelle went on to make transphobic comments including “crude words to compare the anatomy of a transgender to a Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger.
The New York Times reports the show sparked internal backlash, with employees warning it could lead to violence against transgender people.
In a internal message board, Reed Hastings, a co-chief executive, said the company “will continue to ponder the tensions between freedom and safety.”
“I believe our commitment to artistic expression and pleasing our members is the right long-term choice for Netflix, and we’re on the right side, but only time will tell,” he added.
Hastings also said that comedians “say a lot of exaggerated things for effect. Some people like the art form, or at least comedians in particular, and others don’t.”
Further, he said, “We don’t see Dave Chappelle as offensive, or in need of any offset, which obviously and politely we disagree with.”
Ted Sarandos, the company’s other co-chief executive, said, “We have a strong belief that onscreen content doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”
“The strongest evidence to support this is that violence on screens has grown significantly over the past 30 years, especially in first-party shooter games, but violent crime has fallen significantly in many countries,” he added. . “Adults can watch violence, assault, and abuse – or enjoy the shocking comedy that stands out – without it causing them to hurt others.”
However, in a interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Sarandos said he “spread” his response and, “What I should be leading in those emails is humanity.”
“I should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees were really hurt,” he added.
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