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.
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.
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 is...one 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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