Rally planned at Netflix headquarters to support employee walkout

The walkout is in response to Dave Chappelle's stand-up special 'The Closer,' in which the comic made several references to transgendered people.

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Several Netflix employees intend to stage a virtual walkout Wednesday in protest of perceived transphobic rhetoric from Dave Chappelle in his stand-up special, The Closer. Organizers plan to deliver a “list of firm asks” to the streaming service’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos. A “’Stand-Up’ in Solidarity” rally supporting the walkout, organized by trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston, will take place outside of the Netflix California headquarters, also on Wednesday.

Preston posted details of the rally on her Instagram page, writing that the rally will include “artivists/creators, grassroots organizers, public figures and supporters spanning multiple communities who are are coming together to underscore the importance of responsible content offerings that prioritize the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities.”

A PSA from walkout organizers is currently in the works, and will include the backing of talent who have collaborated with Netflix, including Jonathan Van Ness, Jameela Jamil, Sara Ramirez, Angelica Ross, TS Madison, Eureka O’Hara and Colton Haynes.

The contents of the “firm ask” list will not be made public until after the rally. Sarandos issued a memo responding to the demand from staff members to remove The Closer from the streaming platform, as Chappelle doubled down on more jokes and commentary about transgendered people.

“Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on the platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that,” Sarandos stated. “Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”

Some employees believe it does cross the line. Jaclyn Moore a showrunner for Netflix series Dear White People, announced that she was cutting all ties with the company after the special was released. Moore, a transgendered woman, posted to social media, “I won’t work for @netflix again as long as they keep promoting and profiting from dangerous transphobic content.”

Last week, Netflix fired an employee for releasing financial information regarding Chappelle and The Closer to the public. The information revealed that Netflix paid $24.1 million for the special. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company,” reads a statement from Netflix.

Several organizations have also criticized Netflix for the special, including LGBTQ media monitoring organization GLAAD. In addition, The National Black Justice Coalition also called for Netflix to pull the special, calling it “lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia.”

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