Netflix fires Black, pregnant employee organizing worker walkout

The streaming giant continues to find new and novel ways to shoot itself in the foot regarding Dave Chappelle’s latest transphobic comedy special.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 09: General view of a Netflix billboard above Hollywood Blvd promoting Dave ...
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Netflix confirms it has fired the unnamed employee organizing the upcoming trans workers' protest of the company’s handling and subsequent response to The Closer, Dave Chappelle’s ninth and (blessedly) final exclusive standup special that also features heaps of queerphobic material.

“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a Netflix PR spokesperson confirmed to The Verge. “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.”

Netflix alleges the employee leaked internal viewership metrics to Bloomberg for its coverage of the unfolding situation earlier this week. For their part, the employee — who remains anonymous out of fear for their safety, and who is Black and expecting a child — allegedly shared metrics related to Chappelle’s special internally, but also warned against leaks to their coworkers, citing the ensuing blowback could hurt the upcoming protests.

We believe the industry term for this situation is “Oy fuckin’ vey.”

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A bad look that continues to worsen — Every day, the controversy surrounding Netflix’s handling of Chappelle’s standup continues to somehow worsen, an astounding feat made even more impressive by the fact that this entire debacle has been avoidable from the start. Chappelle’s views regarding the trans community are well-known by now, and there was undoubtedly additional material from his recent show that could have been substituted for the queerphobic segments.

Instead, Netflix decided to go against concerns raised by multiple employees and include those jokes, then double- and tripled-down on the choice (while dragging Hannah Gadsby into the fray, much to their eloquently elucidated infuriation).

More information needed — If this person did leak the data, Netflix’s handling of the unnamed employee is nonetheless a very thorny issue. On the one hand, it would be hard to push back on the decision if leaking internal metrics is a fireable offense at the company. On the other... come the hell on. Knowing Chappelle’s viewership stats are comparably such a small portion of the overall issues at hand, and firing someone within the most marginalized segment of society is grotesque, and made even more obscene given everything going right now in the U.S. (and the rest of the world) more generally.

In any case, one thing is certain: Netflix screwed the pooch every which way imaginable on this one, and it needs to be called out as widely and loudly as possible right now.