Netflix co-CEO says he ‘screwed up’ when defending Dave Chappelle special

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“I should have recognized the fact that a bunch of our employees were really hurting,” Ted Sarandos says in the interview.

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Netflix Inc. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he was “spoiled” in his attempts to communicate with employees upset by Dave Chappelle’s recent comedy special “The Closer”, which he remarked to some people as offensive. Observed transgender community.

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In an email to Netflix employees after the special debuted earlier this month, Sarandos defended “The Closer” by citing its popularity on the platform and the company’s commitment to creative freedom. He also said that the company believes that “content on screen does not directly harm the real world.”

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In “The Closer”, which was released earlier this month and is currently one of the most-watched shows on the service in the US, Chappelle said “gender is a fact” and that he called “TERF”. Identified as “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminist”. He also compared the transgender community to people wearing blackface.

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“I should have led humanity in those emails,” Sarandos said in an interview Tuesday evening. “I should have recognized the fact that a bunch of our employees were really hurting.”

Sarandos said that his remarks on the material not harming the real world were also an oversimplification and lacking in humanity.

“To be clear, storytelling has real-world implications … sometimes quite negative,” he said.

A Netflix transgender-staff group is encouraging all employees to take leave Wednesday as a protest against Netflix to continue working with Chappelle and respond to their concerns.

Sarandos, who is also Netflix’s chief content officer, said he is not second-guessing the decision to move “The Closer” nor does the streaming giant have any plans to remove it from the platform.

“We’ve told our employees that there will be things you don’t like,” Sarandos said. “There are going to be things that you might find hurtful. But we’re trying to entertain a world with different tastes and different sensations and different beliefs, and I think this particular one suits that.” was,” he said.

Standup comedy is “designed to stir up emotion,” Sarandos said. And while Netflix prides itself on an inclusive staff and programming featuring an array of diverse voices, “sometimes inclusion and artistic expression clash with each other,” he said.

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“The Closer” is currently one of the top 10 most popular Netflix shows in the US, and it peaked at number 3 earlier this week. Chappelle has created several specials for Netflix, and all are among its most popular offerings.

Criticism of “The Closer” put Netflix on the defensive, as if it was riding high on the success of “Squid Game,” a South Korean dystopian drama that made its debut last month and quickly became a global phenomenon.

In the interview, Sarandos said that Netflix has spent vast amounts of money creating content for and for the LGBTQ community and will continue to do so.

“I am strongly committed to continuing to support artistic freedom for creators working with Netflix and increasing representation on screen and behind the camera,” he said, noting that these goals are sometimes interchangeable. may conflict with.

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“We have to figure out how to navigate those challenges,” Sarandos said.


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