Netflix Suspends Trans Employee Who Criticized Dave Chapelle Special

Netflix Suspends Trans Employee Who Criticized Dave Chapelle Special

Netflix has reportedly suspended three employees who crashed an executive meeting in protest of Dave Chapelle'sThe Closer.

According to the Verge, senior software engineer Terra Field and two others were put on leave following the incident, which was in response to the controversial comedian's latest stand-up special featuring jokes that "attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness," as Field tweeted last Wednesday,

"All while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups," she said, before listing a number of trans and gender nonconforming people killed this past year and adding, "You're going to hear a lot of talk about 'offense.' We are not offended."

On the heels of her viral post, ongoing employee discussion about commentary vs. transphobia and the resignation of another trans employee, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos sent out an internal email on Friday. In a copy of the memo obtained by the publication, Sarandos said that the comedy special would remain on the platform, even though "some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do."

"It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues," he wrote, later saying that Netflix was committed to inclusion and ensuring that "more people see their lives reflected on screen and that under-represented communities are not defined by the single story," citing titles like Sex Education and Disclosure. He also continued the memo by arguing that within stand-up comedy in particular, "artistic freedom is obviously a very different standard of speech."

"[Chappelle's] last special, Sticks & Stones, also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest, and most award winning stand-up special to date," Sarandos went on to say. "As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful."

He added, "We don't allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don't believe The Closer crosses that line. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries."

Following reports of Field's suspension, a company spokesman denied speculation that it was the result of her tweets, stating, "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."

Field has yet to respond to any requests for comment. However, you can see a few of her tweets below.

Photo via Getty / Lionel Bonaventure / AFP