Netflix came under scathing gunfire on Friday after sacking the head of a trans employee resource group that held a walkout next week over a controversial stand-up comedy special called “The Closer” hosted by Dave Chappelle .
The streaming platform accused the employee of leaking confidential company metrics to the press, including the scope of the special and how much the company paid for it. This information was published in a Bloomberg report earlier this week.
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the dismissal of the employees in a statement to tech news site The Verge.
“We fired an employee for sharing confidential and commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a spokesperson said. “We understand that this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt by Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is at the heart of our business. “
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“The Closer” has been widely criticized online for its alleged transphobia and homophobia, and has led to an unprecedented wave of internal employee activism within Netflix. The company even suspended a trans software engineer who apparently attempted to attend a recent C-suite meeting she was not invited to, and then posted a viral Twitter thread about the situation. She was later reinstated, although the incident continues to shake the company.
Netflix is widely known for its internal transparency, sharing quarterly salary and finance data with most employees, although the information comes with a strict policy that does not allow sharing outside the company. As a result, this week’s leak was unprecedented for the company, which has so far kept its data a secret.
Due to the employee’s actions, however, we now know how much Chappelle’s special production cost – $ 24.1 million, an amount that seems much higher than other comparable comedy specials. By comparison, Bo Burnham’s widely acclaimed “Inside”, which came out earlier this year, cost just $ 3.9 million.
This is likely due to Chappelle’s popularity – and indeed, at least 10 million people have watched ‘The Closer’ so far, making him the most watched comedian on the platform, according to the CEO of Netflix. , Ted Sarandos.
Chappelle has apparently made some incredible deals with the company as well. Its latest special, “Sticks & Stones,” cost the company $ 23.6 million, Bloomberg reported. It’s still unclear if Netflix was able to take advantage of either special.
The information, however, only served to further anger current and former employees who were already outraged by Netflix’s perceived special treatment of the comedian.
A former employee expressed his frustration to The Verge: “All these white people are talking to the press and talking publicly on Twitter and the only person who is fired is the black person who was silent all the time,” they said.
“This is absurd, and it shows even more that black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation. ”