Netflix boss criticised by Hannah Gadsby over Dave Chappelle controversy

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Photo credit: Don Arnold – Getty Images

Netflix boss Ted Sarandos has come under fire from comedian Hannah Gadsby after namechecking her in his recent staff memo defending Dave Chappelle.

Chappelle is currently at the centre of a controversy over his standup special The Closer, which includes material pertaining to the transgender community which some have found offensive and has drawn intense criticism from the LGBTQ+ community.

Now, the streamer's co-CEO is facing criticism after the following internal memo was released (via Variety): “We are working hard to ensure marginalised communities aren't defined by a single story. So we have Sex Education, Orange is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.”

Photo credit: Sean Rayford

Upon reading this, the Nanette and Douglas performer took to Instagram to voice her thoughts with a statement.

“Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn't drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle's fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial word view.

“You didn't pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do shits with more backbone than you. That's just a joke! I definitely didn't cross a line because you just told the world there isn't one.”

The Australian has since received plenty of support from names of the screen, including Batwoman's Ruby Rose, who replied: “Hannah. You are incredibly special. Never change a damn f**king thing and thank god for you.”

Transparent actress Amy Landecker went on to add: “Brilliant, as usual.”

Photo credit: Ben King – Netflix

Related: Leaving Neverland's Wade Robson and James Safechuck hit back at Dave Chappelle's offensive Netflix stand-up

Sarandos' comments come after an earlier memo sent to Netflix employees cited the streamer providing “creative freedom” for keeping Chappelle's stand-up offering.

“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,” Sarandos said (via Variety).

“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.

“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.”

Photo credit: Samir Hussein – Getty Images

Dear White People's co-showrunner Jaclyn Moore, who is transgender, spoke out earlier this month, stating that she would not work with Netflix following Chappelle's comments.

“I told the story of my transition for @netflix and @most's Pride week,” Moore began. “It's a network that's been my home on @DearWhitePeople. I've loved working there. [But] I will not work with them as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”

In further response to the issue, the trans employee resource group at Netflix are planning a company-wide walkout next week (October 20) to protest against Sarandos' statement and the suspension, then reinstatement, of a trans employee for attending a director-level meeting without invite.

An internal message from one of the groups leaders is quoted as stating (via The Verge): “Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”

Digital Spy has reached out to representatives of Gadsby, Chappelle and Sarandos for further comment.

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