Netflix bosses braced for an employee walkout and rally in Los Angeles on Wednesday as anger swelled over a new Dave Chappelle comedy special that activists say is harmful to the transgender community.
The streaming giant has found itself embroiled in an intense and highly public controversy over Chappelle´s "The Closer," in which the stand-up star insists "gender is a fact" and accuses LGBTQ people of being "too sensitive."
"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," Netflix said in a statement to AFP, which said the company "understands the deep hurt that´s been caused."
Organizers intend to present a list of "firm asks" to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos at Wednesday morning´s rally, which leader Ashlee Marie Preston earlier said had been moved to a larger site due to "overwhelming demand."
The event will call for content that prioritizes "the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities," she wrote on Instagram.
Transgender Netflix employee Terra Field has called on the streamer to add a content warning to "The Closer," and to promote more "queer and trans comedians and talent."
"A place can´t be a great place to work if someone has to betray their community to do so," Field wrote in a blog post Monday.
"The Closer" has been condemned by LGBTQ groups, which cited studies linking stereotypes about minorities to real-world harm.
Sarandos wrote to staff in a leaked internal memo last week that "content on screen doesn´t directly translate to real-world harm," and emphasized the importance of defending "artistic freedom."
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