Australian Comedian Hannah Gadsby has slammed Netflix executive, Ted Sarandos after he used Gadsby’s presence on the platform to defend Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special on Netflix.
Chappelle’s recent comedy special, The Closer, which debuted on Netflix last week, has been met with backlash, after Chappelle used his special to discuss transgender and gay people, including statements like “gender is a fact.”
Naturally, as soon as the special was released on Netflix, Twitter erupted. A number of commentators have described the special as transphobic, with writer Saeed Jones describing it on Twitter, as: “I felt like I’d just been stabbed by someone I once admired and now he was demanding that I stop bleeding.”
Others have defended Chappelle.
Watching Dave Chapelle’s new special, “The Closer,” I didn’t feel like I was being set free. I felt like I’d just been stabbed by someone I once admired and now he was demanding that I stop bleeding.
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) October 11, 2021
If you don’t like Dave Chapelle’s new Netflix special, just don’t look at it.
I don’t know why trans activists can’t just be kind towards Dave. It costs nothing to validate him.
Comedy is a spectrum, not a binary.
— Bill Moon (@BigBillMoon) October 10, 2021
— amb (@randomblckkguy) October 9, 2021
Dave Chapelle’s show is transphobic (mocking trans people’s bodies, misgendering them) which is terrible. But the bigger story is that 75% of the show was violently misogynistic—with Chapelle joking about beating up a lesbian, and sexually assaulting, raping, and murdering women.
— Mara (@truthnotdogma) October 16, 2021
According to Variety, there was also internal dissension. Openly transgender senior software engineer, Terra Field, was suspended from her role at Netflix after calling out Chappelle’s special. Field tagged Netflix in the tweets.
I work at @netflix. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You're going to hear a lot of talk about "offense".
We are not offended 🧵
— Terra Field (@RainofTerra) October 7, 2021
Being trans is actually pretty funny, if you're someone who actually knows about the subject matter. How could volunteering for a second puberty *not* be funny? That isn't what he is doing though. Our existence is 'funny' to him – and when we object to his harm, we're "offended".
— Terra Field (@RainofTerra) October 7, 2021
Variety, also reported that Netflix has said it did not suspend Field because of tweets, but for crashing an internal meeting. The streaming service has since reinstated Field.
Netflix has now responded to the messy backlash. According to ABC, co-chief executive and chief content officer Ted Sarando, sent a memo around to staff that read: “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. The key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.”
Gadsby, who is an openly gay comedian with two highly acclaimed specials on the platform, was not pleased to be included in Sarando’s memo.
She took to Instagram to call out the platform saying: “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 Chapelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world 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*** 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 post has since received over 60,000 likes.
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