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Netflix Protest Rallye Draws Hundreds of Participants As Staff Plan Walkout Over Chappelle Special

Netflix Protest Rallye Draws Hundreds of Participants As Staff Plan Walkout Over Chappelle Special

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Netflixs Vine office on Wednesday morning for a rally to support the streamer s trans workers, who began 'virtual walkout' in protest of Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos handling of Dave Chappelle recent comedy special, The Closer.

During the virtual walkout, the participating staffers will not work for Netflix but will instead engage in content that supports the trans community and supports charities. The walkout coincides with the public rally, organized by the activist Ashlee Marie Preston, which moved to Netflix's office on Vine Street to accommodate more people.

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B. Pagels-Minor, a former Netflix employee who was fired last week for allegedly divulging confidential information on the Chappelle special, appeared at the rally to support the walkout. (Pagels-Minor has denied leaking sensitive information.)

As most of you may know, I'm 33 weeks pregnant. When I thought about why I was participating in this program, it was because my son doesnt grow up with material that hates me, Pagels-Minor said. I want my child to grow up in a world where they can see that their parent, whose name is Black trans person, has value and I am an important person as well, she said. Despite what the special says, contrary to what many people say, I exist, because I do, and contrary, to who I'm."

Pagels-Minor, a former leader of the Netflix Trans* employee resource group, read out the letter of asks to Sarandos from the employee group. Included in the list were calls for Netflix to establish a fund for nonbinary and trans talent, improve internal procedures for reviewing potentially harmful content, include disclaimers on shows with transphobic content and acknowledge the harm Netflix has done to the trans community, and particularly the Black trans population. Other requests included creating a fund for trans and nonbinary talent above and below the line, increasing the Trans* employee resource groups involvement in discussions about potentially harmful content, and recruiting trans, particularly trans BIPOC, people for executive positions at Netflix.

We are employees, but we are also members, Pagels-Minor said, reading out the letter. We believe that this firm can and must do more in our endeavor to entertain the world, and that the way forward must include more diverse voices in order to avoid causing more harm.

The rally attracted a large contingent of supporters of the trans Netflix workers, as well as those in support of Chappelle, but demonstrators who spoke with THR urged Netflix to listen to its trans employees and implement their wishes.

Netflix must listen to its employees, according to the BBC. Lily Weaver, a trans person who is not affiliated with Netflix, told THR that she is here in solidarity with them. None of us are free until all of you are.

Joey Soloway, the creator of Transparent, said they wanted to see a trans person on Netflixs board and described Chappelle sexist remarks in The Closer as infinitely amplified gender violence.

This is gender violence. Soloway believes that sharing his outrage as comedic humiliation in front of thousands of people, and then broadcasting it to hundreds of millions of individuals, is infinitely amplified gender violence. I want trans representation on the Netflix board, according to the executive director. This fucking week, a trans person was on the FF-ing Netflix board.

Preston, the rally organizer, stated the gathering was to show Netflixs solidarity with trans workers. Its harrowing to have transgender workers who work for your firm take part in the oppression of their own community, and were here to disrupt that and stand in solidarity with the workers, Preston said.

Talent like Jonathan Van Ness, Angelica Ross, Jameela Jamil, and Colton Haynes also participated in a video released on Wednesday ahead of the rally to show their support for Netflixs trans staffers. Elliot Page said on Twitter that he supports trans, nonbinary, and BIPOC workers fighting for more and better trans stories and a more inclusive workplace. Dan Levy, who has a multiyear film and TV deal with Netflix, posted op-ed on Twitter about TVs influence on cultural debates, both positive and negative. That isnt a debate, he added.

Sarandos said he still supports keeping the Chappelle special on Netflix and that if a disclaimer was added to the show highlighting potentially harmful remarks, it wouldnt be appropriate, despite the actor stating that.

When we think about this challenge we must entertain the world, and part of that challenge involves having audiences with a variety of tastes, sensibilities, beliefs. Sarandos stated, "You just cant please everyone, or the content would be boring." I do think that the Netflix release of the special is in keeping with our comedy offerings, its consistent with Dave Chappelle s comedy brand, and this is... one of those times when therere things on Netflix that youll never enjoy.

Netflix also issued a statement before the walkout to express its deep sadness thats been caused.

Netflix stated, We value our trans colleagues and allies and understand the pain thats been felt. We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to leave Netflix, and we recognize that we have a lot more work to do both within Netflix and in our content, said Cohen.

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