What is this Netflix and Dave Chappelle Controversy that resulted in Employees stage out during Stand-up ‘The Closer’

Hundreds of Netflix employees are planning a walkout to protest the company's decision to keep Dave Chappelle's stand-up show "The Closer" on the platform.

The controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy act The Closer isn’t going away anytime soon, as hundreds of Netflix employees are planning a walkout in protest of the streaming service’s support for Chappelle’s stand-up special. The transphobic and homophobic remarks made in Chappelle’s special sparked a huge outcry. Netflix has maintained its support for the contentious programme, with co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos stating in an interview that the show will not be removed from the site.

Employees at Netflix conduct a walkout in protest of Dave Chappelle’s stand-up comedy.
Hundreds of Netflix employees are planning a walkout to protest Netflix management’s stance on Dave Chappelle’s stand-up, according to Variety. Netflix issued a statement in reaction to the protest, which said,

“We value our trans colleagues and supporters and recognise the pain they’ve experienced. We respect any employee who chooses to leave, and we understand that we still have a lot of work to do both within Netflix and in our content.”

Ted Sarandos, the streamer’s co-CEO and chief content officer, said in an interview with Variety that the company’screwed up’ in internal communication while watching the programme. He did, however, defend the company’s choice to keep the show on their platform, claiming that it does not come under the definition of “hate speech.”

Dave Chappelle seemed to purposefully and humorously refer to himself as “transphobic” numerous times during his most recent show, explaining how the label had remained with him through the years. He stressed that he had no issues with transgender individuals, but did have issues with white people. His displeasure at being ‘tricked’ into calling a transwoman as lovely was one of his other contentious remarks on the show.

GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition, both LGBTQ organisations, condemned Chappelle’s transphobic and homophobic remarks and demanded that the special be withdrawn off Netflix. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Chappelle performed in L.A.’s famous Hollywood Bowl on Thursday night in front of a star-studded and sold-out crowd, and in response to a standing ovation stated, “If this is what being cancelled is like, I love it.”

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