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Netflix faces backlash over Dave Chappelle’s anti-transgender show

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Netflix faces backlash over Dave Chappelle’s anti-transgender show

Netflix is doubling down on their defense of comedian Dave Chappelle’s mocking of the transgender community in his latest comedy special, “The Closer,” and this is further provoking controversy.

Netflix had partnered with Chappelle on a series of six specials, of which the last one– “The Closer”– was recently released.

The streaming giant’s CEO, Ted Sarandos, had come out with separate memos defending Chappelle, which drew even more criticism.

Dave Chappelle aims to offend

In “The Closer,” Chappelle spent nearly half of the 70-minute long set to mock the LGBTQ community, especially the transgender people.

At one point, he said, “Now listen, women get mad at me, gay people get mad at me, lesbians get mad at me– but I’m gonna tell you right now, and this is true: These transgenders want me dead.”

Declaring himself as part of “Team TERF” (referring to the trans-exclusionary radical feminist), he also said that, “Gender is a fact.”

“Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact,” he added.

The showing of Chappelle’s show on Netflix led to an explosion of criticism against the streaming giant. For example, GLAAD said Chappelle’s brand of comedy “has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people.”

Meanwhile, the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBT advocacy organization, said Netflix should pull the plug on Chappelle’s special.

Netflix to Dave Chappelle’s defense

Some Netflix LGBTQ employees had also aired their disappointment over the company’s airing of Chappelle’s special.

Trans writer and showrunner Jaclyn Moore of “Dear White People” cut ties with Netflix, saying: “I will not work with them as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”

However, Sarandos said in his memo defending Chappelle: “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.”

In another note, he said, “While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

In the wake of the memo, some Netflix employees are pushing a walkout to protest. However, The Verge reported Friday that the walkout organizer has been fired.

The company spokesperson told ITK the employee was dismissed “for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company.”

Netflix LGBT creators in a bind

Netflix’s defense of Chappelle has also unsettled the LGBTQ creators employed or associated by Netflix.

Most, the Twitter account run by “queer and trans people” and describing itself as the “home of Netflix’s LGBTQ+ storytelling,” apologized and said that “the last couple of weeks have been hard.”

The account further said: “We can’t always control what goes on screen. What we can control is what we create here, and the POV we bring to internal conversations.”

However, they added, “We have been reading all of your comments and using them to continue advocating for bigger and better queer representation.”

This drew criticism as well, with some people on Twitter accusing them of hypocrisy. For example, filmmaker Chris Osborn accused the Netflix LGBTQ creators of throwing their “siblings under the bus.”

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