Sunday, June 26

Transphobia: The protest over the Dave Chappelle special on Netflix hits the streets | TV

Activists and Netflix employees demonstrated Wednesday outside the company's Los Angeles office.
Activists and Netflix employees demonstrated Wednesday outside the company’s Los Angeles office.Rodin Eckenroth (AFP)

After weeks of heating up on social media, the annoyance sparked by Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special has hit the streets. Activists from the LGTBIQ community have joined dozens of Netflix employees on Wednesday morning who have protested against the company for serving as a platform for The Closer, a show that they consider a work of transphobia and homophobia. The demonstration outside the headquarters of the giant of streaming Los Angeles is just the latest example of a growing crisis for the company.

Around a hundred people, the protest had generous media coverage, they attended the demonstration with different messages of support for the group that has been the object of ridicule from Chappelle. “Trans lives matter”, “Transphobia is not a joke”, “trans team” were some of the messages that could be seen at the intersection of Vine and Hollywood streets, where the protest was registered. The premiere of The Closer, on October 5, provoked an internal rebellion in a company that promotes total transparency and freedom of expression. At least three employees have been suspended for vocalizing their annoyance with the special, which is among the top ten most-watched titles on Netflix in the United States.

“I’m here to speak to the people who sign the check [de Chappelle]”Announced Ashlee Marie Preston, one of the organizers of the protest on Wednesday. “Netflix and corporate culture manipulate with their algorithmic sciences and distort the way we perceive ourselves and others. The hate economy is emerging, companies that make money by making each other attack each other, “added Preston, who informed those present that he has sought several times to dialogue with Chappelle without him responding to the invitation. In his monologue, the comedian based in a small Ohio town assures that “gender is a fact” and identifies with radical feminists who exclude transgender women. On The Closer, which closes what the comedian calls a dialogue with the LGTBIQ movement after Stick & Stones, Chappelle also throws darts at poor whites and blacks.

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“We are not angry, we do not fight because Chappelle made some terrible jokes. We do it because they were championed by the board members of a multinational corporation, ”said Burbank Democratic Councilor Konstantine Anthony. Actors Elliot Page and Dan Levy were among the celebrities who supported the Netflix employee protest. “I support all Netflix employees who use their voice to ensure a safe and supportive work environment”, said on Twitter the protagonist of the award-winning Schitt’s Creek, who assures that the influence of television can be negative or positive. “Transphobia is harmful and unacceptable. That is not up for debate”.

The demonstration, although small, experienced some tense moments when a group of defenders of freedom of expression and Chappelle’s comedy appeared at the scene. “Cancel the cancellation culture,” “Jokes are funny,” and “Black trans lives matter” became the contrast to the main protest. The banner of a youtuber was torn from his hands and destroyed.

Hours before the protest, Ted Sarandos, the head of content with Netflix and one of the most powerful men in the company, sent an email to the employees in which he admitted that the internal management of the crisis could have been better. “I should have recognized that there was a group of really injured employees,” he said. Still, there are no plans to remove the material, one of the requests made by some workers who raised their voices. “We have communicated to employees that there will be content that they do not like … There will be some things in the service that they consider harmful, but we try to entertain a world that has different tastes and different sensitivities,” added the executive in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Sarandos stated that the company will continue to invest in content made by and for the LGTBIQ community.

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