Protestors gathered outside Netflix in Los Angeles on Wednesday, angry over a new Dave Chappelle comedy special that has sparked accusations the streamer is trampling transgender rights and profiting from hate speech.
A few dozen staff walked off the job and were joined by a similar number of trans activists and their supporters for a demonstration calling for better representation at the Hollywood powerhouse.
“We hope to add clarity as to why the jokes that were made are harmful,” said protest organiser Ashlee Marie Preston.
“More importantly, moving away from Dave Chappelle — this is a larger conversation about how companies capitalize off of tension (and use) algorithmic science to manipulate and distort our perceptions of ourselves and one another.”
The protest came with Netflix engulfed in an intense and highly public controversy over Chappelle’s “The Closer,” in which the stand-up star insists “gender is a fact” and accuses LGBTQ people of being “too sensitive.”
The row has been going on for two weeks, while “The Closer” has ridden high in Netflix’s list of most-watched titles.
On Tuesday the company moved to try to soothe anger after joint-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the show and appeared to dismiss concerns.
“We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content,” a statement said, adding the company “understands the deep hurt that’s been caused.
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