On Wednesday, Team Trans* led a Netflix employee walkout in response to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos defending comedian Dave Chappelle and his Netflix special The Closer against calls to have the special removed over comments that many in the LGBTQ and ally communities found offensive. As posted earlier by activist Ashlee Marie Preston, "Stand Up in Solidarity" took place at Netflix's Vine Street to accommodate larger numbers and featured creators, grassroots organizers, and public figures coming together "to underscore the importance of responsible content offerings that prioritize the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities." The organizers are presenting Sarandos with a list of "firm asks" and have released a PSA addressing the matter.
"We shouldn't have to show up quarterly/annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities. Instead, we aim to use this moment to shift the social ecology around what Netflix leadership deems ethical entertainment while establishing policies and guidelines that protect employees and consumers, alike," Preston wrote in their post explaining the purpose of the walkout and what it hopes to achieve. Here's a look at the PSA from Team Trans* featuring Angelica Ross, Jonathan Van Ness, Jameela Jamil, Eureka O'Hara, Colton Haynes, Sara Ramirez, TS Madison, Ashlee Marie Preston, Mason Alexander Park, Kate Bornstein, Our Lady J, and Peppermint that's been posted and shared. The Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page signaled his support in an Instagram post earlier today that also included the video
Earlier today, Netflix released a statement in support of the protest action from its' employees: "We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that's been caused. We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content." The statement comes on the heels of Sarandos' interview with Deadline Hollywood where the co-CEO admitted that the streamer's initial reaction to the growing controversy left a lot to be desired. "I screwed up the internal communication – and I don't mean just mechanically. I feel I should've made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should've recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through," Sarandos explained. "I say that because I respect them deeply, and I love the contribution they have at Netflix. They were hurting, and I should've recognized that first."