The Chappelle controversy continues.
In a memo apparently sent to Netflix employees, Ted Sarandos, the company’s co-CEO and chief content officer, said that the streaming service will not take down comedian Dave Chappelle’s controversial new stand-up special “The Closer,” Variety reported.
Many critics have slammed the 48-year-old’s latest special and urged viewers to cancel him for his controversial remarks about transgender people.
“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,” 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,” the CEO continued.
He went on: “Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles [on] Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”
“Particularly in stand-up comedy, artistic freedom is obviously a very different standard of speech than we allow internally as the goals are different: entertaining people versus maintaining a respectful, productive workplace,” he added.
Meanwhile, “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness — whose show also streams on Netflix — seemingly weighed in on the memo.
The memo’s emergence comes the same day it was reported that Netflix senior software engineer Terra Field was allegedly suspended for blasting the Chappelle special last week. In a viral Twitter thread, Field said Chappelle “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness.”
According to the Verge, Field was reportedly suspended “for trying to attend a meeting she wasn’t invited to.” The site also claimed that another trans employee was quitting the company over “how the special — and Field’s comments — were handled.”
“Gender is a fact,” Chappelle said at one point in his set. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.” He then joked about the genitalia of transgender women, which he said is “not what it is.”