Netflix Employee Fired for Sharing Confidential Dave Chappelle Info

Update VI: Only hours after Emmy-winning comedian Hannah Gadsby blasted comedian Dave Chappelle for comments he made in his latest Netflix special The Closer Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos for using her name in an email to staff defending the streamer's decision to keep the special streaming, another chapter in the controversy has opened up. On Friday, Netflix confirmed it had terminated an unidentified staff member for leaking "commercially sensitive information" that included financial intel on for Chappelle's special that was used in a Bloomberg article about the Netflix employee backlash to Chappelle's special. "We have let go an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company," said a Netflix spokesperson in a statement to Variety. "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." According to the Bloomberg report, Netflix paid $24.1 million for The Closer and $23.6 million for Sticks & Stones in 2019. To put that into perspective, that's more than what was paid for Bo Burnham's Inside special ($3.9 million) and even more than the global phenomenon Squid Game ($21.4 million).

The Verge is reporting that the fired employee was also a leader of the Netflix trans employee resource group organizing the walkout planned for October 20th. According to the article, the employee "is Black and currently pregnant" who "asked not to be named for fear of online harassment" and "declined to speak to The Verge" for their story.

chappelle
Image: Screencap

Original Report: Last week, we reported on how Dave Chappelle was facing backlash for comments he made during his recent Netflix stand-up special The Closer. Many on social media & within the LGBTQ+ community as well a number of LGBTQ+-supporting organizations (GLAAD, National Black Justice Coalition & others) are demanding that the streaming service pull the special over what they say were hate-filled comments meant to attack the trans community and others. But based on a memo reportedly from Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos that was sent to staff on Friday (and obtained by Variety), the special and Chappelle aren't going anywhere.

"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. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it's an important part of our content offering," Sarandos reportedly wrote, arguing the importance of artistic freedom in making the decision. "Externally, 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." Here's a look at the full text of the email reportedly sent:

chappelle
Image: Screencap

I wanted to follow-up on the "The Closer" — Dave Chappelle's latest special — as several of you have reached out following QBR asking what to say to your teams. It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues, so I wanted to give you some additional context. You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.

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. 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, like "Cuties," "365 Days," "13 Reasons Why" or "My Unorthodox Life."

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. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it's an important part of our content offering.

In terms of our commitment to inclusion, we're working hard to ensure more people see their lives reflected on screen and that under-represented communities are not defined by the single story. So we're proud of titles like "Sex Education," "Young Royals," "Control Z" and "Disclosure." Externally, 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.

Today's conversation on Entertain the World was timely. These are hard and uncomfortable issues. We all bring different values and perspectives so thank you for being part of the conversation as it's important we're clear about our operating principles.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.