The woman, who did not identify herself out of fear of harassment, told The Verge she was fired on suspicion of leaking internal metric data on Chappelle’s ‘The Closer’ special to the press. Netflix does not typically share such data, which could include viewership numbers, as well as the costs of the production and talent.
“All these white people are going around talking to the press and speaking publicly on Twitter and the only person who gets fired is the Black person who was quiet the entire time,” the former employee, whom The Verge notes is black and pregnant, said. “That’s absurd, and just further shows that Black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”
The employee claims they had only spoken internally about the metrics and it was to raise them as a point of concern to others.
Netflix confirmed the firing, but had a different story, putting blame for the leak on the employee in question.
“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,” they said in a statement about the dismissal.
Critics have defended the fired employee on social media and blasted the company as “transphobic.”
Chappelle’s comedy special has been a popular title for Netflix and celebrated by the comedian’s massive fanbase, but trans activists have attempted to label it “dangerous” due to points where Chappelle addresses the trans movement. Though he says nothing directly hateful or against trans people, Chappelle refers to gender as a “fact,” saying everyone was birthed from a woman. Chappelle’s comments on the trans movement and woke culture in his special have enraged critics, some of whom are employed by Netflix.
The company suspended software engineer Terra Field after she attended a meeting she wasn’t invited to in an attempt to further express her concerns after having already posted a Twitter thread criticizing her employer and the comedy special.
Chappelle has been cavalier about the entire ordeal, continuing to tour around the country and waving off social media controversies.
Netflix has stood by the special. Though they released a statement supportive of protesting employees, the company said they do not agree that Chappelle’s content can lead to real-world harm.
The walkout by employees is planned for October 20.
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