Published by
Reuters

By Dawn Chmielewski (Reuters) – Netflix Inc employees are staging a walk-out on Wednesday in an unprecedented show of defiance to protest the streaming giant’s decision to release comedian Dave Chappelle’s controversial new comedy special, which they say ridicules trans people.

A group of employees calling itself Team Trans* has scheduled a rally outside Netflix’s 13-story Sunset Boulevard offices in Los Angeles, where activists, public figures and other supporters plan to present Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos with a “list of asks.”

“We shouldn’t have to show up quarterly/annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities,” organizer Ashlee Marie Preston wrote in a social media post. “Instead, we aim to use this moment to shift the social ecology around what Netflix leadership deems ethical entertainment.”

While such demonstrations have become commonplace in Silicon Valley, where employees of Facebook and Google have engaged in open protest to draw attention to corporate policies, this is believed to be a first for the pioneer streaming video company.

Even as it posted record subscriber numbers Tuesday, propelled by the global popularity of the South Korean thriller “Squid Game,” Netflix faces internal dissent over its handling of Chappelle’s stand-up show “The Closer.”

Sarandos stoked further backlash with an Oct. 11 staff memo in which he acknowledged Chappelle’s provocative language but said it didn’t cross the line into inciting violence. “We have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t translate to real-world harm.”

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