Final score just in! Netflix/Chappelle 1, Disgrunted Netflix employees 0.
Netflix Employee Who Criticized Dave Chappelle Has Resigned
Software engineer Terra Field and her former colleague are also dropping unfair labor practice complaint against streaming company
Comedian Dave Chappelle’s ‘The Closer’ was among the most-watched programs on Netflix in the U.S. last month.
By Omar Abdel-Baqui
Updated Nov. 23, 2021 12:17 pm ET
A Netflix Inc. employee, who was a vocal advocate against Dave Chappelle’s stand-up special “The Closer,” said she has resigned from the streaming company.
The employee, Terra Field, and her former colleague B. Pagels-Minor are also dropping a formal complaint against Netflix filed with the National Labor Relations Board that alleged the company quelled employees from speaking up about working conditions.
A labor lawyer representing the two Netflix employees said her clients were able to resolve their differences with Netflix.
“My clients, Terra and B., are very courageous and inspiring people and were able to shed light on an important topic in a thoughtful and meaningful way,” attorney Laurie Burgess said. She declined to comment on specifics of the negotiations between the parties, including whether there was a settlement.
“We have resolved our differences in a way that acknowledges the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, enables everyone to move on,” a Netflix spokesman said.
B. Pagels-Minor was fired from Netflix last month for leaking financial information, including production costs for “The Closer,” outside the company that ended up appearing in a Bloomberg story.
Ms. Field was suspended in October and quickly reinstated by the company for attending an online meeting of senior Netflix executives without permission. She said she resigned as of Sunday.
“This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I am relieved to have closure,” Ms. Field, a transgender now-former Netflix software engineer, wrote in a statement published online.
“Shortly after B. was fired for something I did not and do not believe they did, I made a decision: sink or swim, I was going to walk side by side with B. as they had for so many of us while they led the Trans* ERG,” Ms. Field said, referring to an acronym of the company’s employee resource group.
Before her suspension last month, Ms. Field posted a viral thread on Twitter about Mr. Chappelle’s comedy special, which she said “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness.”
“The Closer” was among the most-watched programs on Netflix in the U.S. last month. It led to swift backlash and ultimately prompted protests outside one of Netflix’s Los Angeles offices, as some employees released demands for management and staged a walkout.
Some Netflix employees staged a walkout in late October and released a list of demands after a Dave Chappelle special offended many in the transgender community. Netflix is facing internal tensions while notching successes with “Squid Game” and subscriber growth. Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters (Video from 10/21/21)
Netflix co-Chief Executive and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos stood by the special in emails to staff, saying the service wouldn’t pull it down and that he didn’t think the special incited hate or violence.
Mr. Sarandos later said he “screwed up” in his efforts to communicate with employees. “What I should have led with in those emails was humanity. I should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees was really hurting,” he said.
In “The Closer,” Mr. Chappelle said “gender is a fact” and said he identified as a “TERF,” an acronym that stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Mr. Chappelle said he isn’t a favorite of the trans community, then added, “Someone told me, ‘They after you, Dave,’ and I said, ‘One they or many theys?’”
He also was critical of how the trans community has responded to his previous specials, as well as for attacking other artists who have made comments or expressed opinions that have been criticized by the LGBTQ community. “Stop punching down on my people,” Mr. Chappelle said at the conclusion of “The Closer.”
In a stand-up routine late last month, he told the audience he was willing to meet with the transgender community at Netflix. “I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?” Mr. Chappelle said. “I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it that it’s me versus that community, it is not what it is.”
Write to Omar Abdel-Baqui at email@example.com