Netflix suspends trans employee who called out Dave Chappelle special

Tara Field's Twitter thread about Chappelle's "The Closer" went viral.

Loading the player...

Netflix has suspended a trans employee for attempting to join a leadership meeting after she called out Dave Chappelle‘s comments from his latest special, The Closer.

Since the streaming giant dropped The Closer last week, the internet has been ablaze with both critique and praise — especially pertaining his jokes targeting the LGBTQ+ community. While many Chappelle fans insist his critics are simply missing the point, others continue to share their frustration with the comedian.

Tara Field, a software engineer at Netflix and trans woman, tweeted about the comedian shortly after the special’s release.

Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle looks on during UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3 at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Field wrote in the viral tweet thread, “I work at @netflix. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You’re going to hear a lot of talk about ‘offense’. We are not offended.”

Field goes on in the thread to break down the harm jokes like Chappelle’s can have on the trans community, and specifically ,the Black trans community.

Field was suspended shortly after posting the thread. While many social media users began wondering why she would be suspended for sharing her opinion, Netflix shared a statement that Field was suspended for “attempting to join a quarterly meeting meant only for directors or vice presidents.”

“It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so,” Netflix said in the statement.

Still, the decision has received more backlash on social media, with many pointing out the hypocrisy in Netflix’s recent defense of Chappelle’s comments as “free speech.” Acclaimed writer Roxane Gay wrote in a tweet on Monday, “This is just lousy @netflix. If Chapelle gets free speech to air his noxious ideas, certainly an employee who is directly affected gets that same right.”

Earlier this week, the National Black Justice Coalition and GLAAD called out the comedian for Chappelle’s jokes targeting trans people. The NBJC shared a statement highlighting the very real dangers Black transgender people face everyday in this country. It reads, “With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull ‘The Closer’ from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”

Dave Chappelle
Comedian Dave Chappelle arrives to watch Jake Paul take on Tyron Woodley in a cruiserweight fight during a Showtime pay-per-view event at Rocket Morgage Fieldhouse on August 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Despite the controversy, Netflix is sticking by Chappelle. They shared in a statement obtained by Variety on Monday, “Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date.”

“Some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...