Trans workers at Netflix organize walkout to push for big-picture change from leadership

Trans workers at Netflix organize walkout to push for big-picture change from leadership

If you’ve been anywhere near social media—and especially Twitter—recently, you’ve probably come across the discourse surrounding comedian Dave Chappelle’s recent comedy special, The Closer. The special streamed on Netflix as of Oct. 5 and almost immediately met criticism from folks regarding Chappelle’s transphobic and homophobic jokes. The situation really escalated, however, when three trans Netflix employees were suspended after attending a meeting for workers at the director level to which they had not been invited; thankfully, those suspensions were reversed.

On Oct. 8, however, the CEO of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, shared an internal memo defending the company’s choice to stream the special. The memo reportedly reads in part that “distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard” and that stand-up is meant to “push boundaries.” Sarandos added: “Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.” Now, trans workers are planning a walkout on Oct. 20, as reported by The Verge

As reported by Variety, in a second internal memo, in which he stressed Netflix would not remove the Chappelle special, Sarandos wrote in part: “Our hope is that you can be hugely inspired by entertaining the world, while also living with titles you strongly believe have no place on Netflix. This will not be the last title that causes some of you to wonder if you can still love Netflix. I sincerely hope that you can.”

One of those suspended (and reinstated) employees is Terra Field, a software engineer whose thread on her experience at Netflix and feelings about the special gained major attention on Twitter. The entire thread is worth a read, but Field especially excels in spelling out why this isn’t a matter of trans folks not having a sense of humor or not “getting” the jokes, but rather that Chappelle’s jokes rested on the mere existence of trans people, and why that is so harmful. 

The full-day walkout is being organized as part of an internal organizing group, Trans*. “As an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content,” an internal message from the group reads in part, as reported by Verge. “We can and must do better!”

“As we’ve discussed through Slack, email, text, and everything in between our leadership has shown us they do not uphold the values to which we are held,” organizers wrote. “Between the numerous emails and non-answers that have been given, we have been told explicitly that we somehow cannot understand the nuance of certain content.”

Notably, organizers do not expect the walkout to change Netflix’s decision on pulling (or rather, not pulling) the special. But they hope it gets the platform to stream more LGBTQ+ content and acknowledge the harm the special causes to the trans community. The group encourages not only trans workers but also allies to participate in the walkout. 

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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