Netflix has suspended three employees for crashing a meeting of its top executives, including an out trans person who criticized a new comedy special from Dave Chappelle, sources tell Variety.
Terra Field, a senior software engineer based in San Francisco, was among those suspended late last week for attending the “QBR” — Netflix’s quarterly business review, a two-day affair that convenes the top 500 employees at the company.
Field, who identifies as queer and trans, and the other employees were not invited to the virtual gathering, according to insiders. Netflix did not suspend Field over recent tweets decrying what she called anti-trans jokes in the Chappelle special, individuals familiar with Netflix said, but for attending uninvited. An investigation has been launched into the three employees.
Field did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“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,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety.
Last Wednesday, Field wrote a lengthy Twitter thread about “The Closer,” the new Chappelle stand-up special in which the comic accuses the trans community of having “thin skin.”
In her tweets, Field writes, “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 went on to say of Chappelle, “our existence is ‘funny’ to him – and when we object to his harm, we’re ‘offended.’” She then listed numerous names of trans people, specifically highlighting trans women of color, killed in hate crimes.
At the meeting, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos fielded questions about how leadership should handle employees and talent upset over Chappelle’s remarks. He addressed the entire group in a memo after the event, which Variety obtained on Monday.
“Chapelle 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,” Sarandos wrote.
“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 said.
Netflix talent speaking out against the Chappelle special includes Jaclyn Moore, the showrunner of its original series “Dear White People.”
Moore told Variety last week that she “never loved Dave’s trans material before but this time it felt different. This is the first time I felt like, ‘Oh, people are laughing at this joke and they’re agreeing that it’s absurd to call me a woman.’”
Hours after a memo by Netflix’s co-CEO declaring that trans remarks in Dave Chappelle’s latest special didn’t “cross the line” was made public, one of the nation’s leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations has called out the streamer for some serious hypocrisy.
“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,” said GLAAD Monday in a statement over the controversial The Closer and the suspension of a trans staffer who criticized the streamer over their support of the comedian.
“While Netflix is home to groundbreaking LGBTQ stories, now is the time for Netflix execs to listen to LGBTQ employees, industry leaders, and audiences and commit to living up to their own standards,” the blunt and brief statement added on Monday, which is also National Coming Out Day.