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Netflix Employees Stage Walkout In Hollywood Over Dave Chappelle Special

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Dozens of Netflix employees and their supporters staged a walkout Wednesday in Hollywood to protest the transphobic comments made by Dave Chappelle in his latest comedy special released earlier this month by the streaming giant.

Netflix Employees Stage Walkout In Hollywood Over Dave Chappelle Special
People rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout in Los Angeles, California on October 20, 2021. - Netflix bosses braced for the employee walkout and rally in Los Angeles as anger swelled over a new Dave Chappelle comedy special that activists say is harmful to the transgender community. The streaming giant has found itself embroiled 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." (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The walkout and protest took place at around 10:30 a.m. in the 1300 block of Vine Street, a few blocks from the Netflix building at Sunset Bronson Studios off Sunset Boulevard.

"We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that's been caused," a Netflix spokesperson wrote in a statement provided to CBSLA. "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."

Organizers of the walkout said they plan to present Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos with a series of employee demands. They are also expected to demand to that the streaming service agree to release more content reflective of the LGBTQ community.

Chappelle's special, "The Closer" released Oct. 5, has lead to major internal turmoil at Netflix, with many blasting the streaming service's decision to carry it.

Netflix Employees Stage Walkout In Hollywood Over Dave Chappelle Special
Dozens of Netflix employees and their supporters stage a walkout in Hollywood, Calif., to protest the streaming giant's release of the Dave Chappelle special, which contains transphobic remarks. Oct. 20, 2021. (CBSLA)

Sarandos strongly defended the decision in a series of internal memos, and came under more fire from some employees for his defense of the program.

"When we think about this challenge we have to entertain the world," Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter. "Part of that challenge means that you've got audiences with various taste, various sensibilities, various beliefs. You really can't please everybody or the content would be pretty dull. And we do tell our employees up front that we are trying to entertain our members, and that some of the content on Netflix you're not going to like, and so this kind of commitment to artistic expression and free artistic expression is sometimes in conflict with people feeling protected and safe. I do think that that's something that we struggle with all the time when these two values bump up against each other.

"But I do think that the inclusion of the special on Netflix is consistent with our comedy offering, it's consistent with Dave Chappelle's comedy brand and this of those times when there's something on Netflix that you're not going to like."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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