Netflix sacks employee for revealing cost of Dave Chappelle's controversial comedy special

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Dave Chappelle - ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images
Dave Chappelle - ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Netflix has fired an employee for disclosing confidential financial information about what it paid for Dave Chappelle's controversial comedy special The Closer, which has been criticised for making fun of transgender people.

The employee, who wasn't named, shared "confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company," the streaming giant said.

"We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company," the statement said.

Netflix said the information was referenced in a Bloomberg news article, which reported that the company spent $24.1 million on The Closer, which first aired last week. The article also mentioned the lower budgets for a 2019 Chappelle special, a Bo Burnham special and the nine-episode hit Squid Game.

The streaming giant said a review of its internal access logs pinpointed the information to a single person, who "admitted that they downloaded and shared sensitive company information externally".

The Closer first aired on October 1 and gained at least 10 million views. However, Chappelle's remarks about the transgender community raised protests within Netflix and from LGBTQ activists.

In the show, Chappelle expresses discomfort at being “tricked” into calling a trans woman beautiful, likens trans women to white people wearing blackface and compares the genitalia of trans women to fake meat.

He also described himself as “Team Terf” - the acronym for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists,’ who argue that trans women aren’t women.

The media watchdog group GLAAD said that "anti-LGBTQ content" violates Netflix's policy to reject programs that incite hate or violence.

However, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos told managers in an internal memo that the show doesn't cross "the line on hate" and will remain on the streaming service.

Several Netflix employees, including a software engineer who identifies as transgender, had criticised the special. Transgender employees and their co-workers are being urged to stage a walkout next Wednesday in protest.

"Our leadership has shown us that they do not uphold the values for which we are held," said a post on a public company Slack channel, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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