A pre-noon march at a Netflix office-studio network brought about 100 people, most on the side of an approximate 30 workers at the streaming giant that joined in afterwards.
Netflix workers who walked out Wednesday in a riot of Dave Chappelle’s special and its anti-transgender statements were united by allies who chanted “Trans lives matter,” getting pushback from counter-protesters who also came out.
A pre-noon march at a Netflix office-studio complex brought about 100 people, most on the viewpoint of an estimated 30 workers at the streaming giant that united in afterwards. Some were ready to identify themselves as Netflix workers, but all declined to provide their names.
Joey Soloway, the producer of the stunning Emmy-winning comedy Transparent, was present among the speakers at the march.
Chappelle’s opinion to share “his outrage as comedic humiliation in front of thousands of people, and then broadcasting it to hundreds of millions of people is infinitely amplified gender violence,” they said.
“I want trans representation on the Netflix board, this (expletive) week,” the writer-director told.
Ashlee Marie Preston, an activist and the event’s organizer, handled the rally and talked to The Associated Press afterwards. She told that calling out Chappelle for his remarks wasn’t enough.
“It was important to shift the focus to the people that sign the checks, because Dave Chappelle doesn’t sign checks, Netflix does,” Preston said. “If we have companies like Netflix who aren’t listening to their employees, who are forcing their employees to participate in their own oppression, that’s unacceptable.”
“We’re here to keep people accountable. We’re not going anywhere,” she said, adding that actions are underway to start a conversation with Netflix executives.
There were a few moments of aggressiveness and pushing among the competing demonstrators, but the dispute was generally restricted to a war of words.
Leia Figueroa, a student from Los Angeles, doesn’t work at Netflix but said she wanted to back the walkout. While the streaming service offers positive fare for the LGBTQ community, she said, it’s having it both ways by also offering a show like Chappelle’s that includes disparaging comments about trans women.
If Netflix wishes to be “an apolitical platform then they should be that,” Figueroa told. “But they’re saying things like ‘Black lives matter’ and ‘We don’t stand for transphobia.’ If you say things like that, then you have to be vetting all of your content to reflect your values.”
As she spoke, a protestor yelled, “We like jokes.”
“I like funny jokes, and transphobia is not a joke,” Figueroa replied.
Belissa Cohen, a retired journalist, said she was on hand to “support Netflix’s decision not to pull” the special.
“We want to show that there isn’t unanimous support about transgender ideology when it comes to Netflix viewers,” Cohen said.
She was with about a dozen individuals who held placards reading “Free speech is a right” and “Truth is not transphobic.” Opposite them were those carrying signs that included “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “Transphobia is not Funny.”
Elliot Page, who features in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and is transgender, tweeted that he supports the trans, nonbinary and people of colour working at Netflix who are “fighting for more and better trans stories and a more inclusive workplace.”
Team Trans(asterisk), which specifies itself as supporting “trans people helping at Netflix trying to create a better world for our community,” published what it called a list of “asks” being made of Netflix by trans and nonbinary workers and supporters at the firm.
They are naming on the corporation to “repair” its connections with staff and the audience with changes comprising the hiring of trans managers and increased spending on trans and nonbinary creators and projects.
“Harm reduction” is another need, which according to the list includes acknowledgement of what it yelled Netflix’s “responsibility for this harm from transphobic content, and in particular harm to the Black trans community.”
It also called for denials to flag content that contains “transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia” and hate speech.
In a statement, the media watchdog group GLAAD told it salutes Netflix’s employees, allies and LGBTQ and Black advocates “calling for accountability and change within Netflix and in the entertainment industry as a whole.”
The workers who walked out uniformly referred reporters to the GLAAD statement.
Netflix ran into a buzz-saw of complaint not only with the special but in how internal messages reacted to employees’ concerns, comprising co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ assertion that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”
Sarandos also composed that Netflix doesn’t allow titles that are “designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t understand ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”
In interviews Tuesday, Sarandos told he failed to recognize that “a group of our employees was really hurting,” as he said The Wall Street Journal, and that his statement about the effect of TV on spectators was an oversimplification.
Terra Field, who observes herself on Twitter as a senior software engineer at Netflix and as trans, uploaded tweets significant of Chappelle’s special shortly after it aired and the comments were widely shared.
In her posts, Field told the comic was being condemned not because his comments are offensive but for the harm, they do to the trans society, particularly Black women. The field comprised a list of trans and nonbinary men and women of colour who she said had been killed, putting in each case that the victim “is not offended.”