Days before a planned walkout of trans employees and allies at Netflix in protest of Dave Chappelle’s latest “comedy” special The Closer, the streaming giant confirmed that it has fired one of the staffers leading the charge.
The Verge reports that the employee is Black and pregnant, and was a leader of Netflix’s trans employee resource group. The employee’s firing comes after Netflix suspended and later reinstated a trans employee for trying to attend a director-level meeting about the special that she and others weren’t invited to.
Per The Verge:
“All these white people are going around talking to the press and speaking publicly on Twitter and the only person who gets fired is the Black person who was quiet the entire time,” says a former employee in an interview with The Verge. “That’s absurd, and just further shows that Black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”
The employee was terminated on suspicion of leaking metrics to the press related to the Dave Chappelle special. Those metrics — about how much Netflix paid for The Closer and how many people it reached — subsequently ended up in a report on Bloomberg. While the employee had shared the metrics internally, they spoke out against the leaks to colleagues, worried they might hurt the walkout movement.
The leaking of internal data is highly unusual at Netflix. While the company prides itself on transparency, employees are told that the culture can only thrive when Netflix data remains internal.
Netflix and Chappelle have been roundly criticized by trans activists and others over The Closer due to content that GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition have said perpetuates transphobia. Netflix has stuck by the special and its decision to keep it on the platform despite calls to remove it, which is what sparked the impending Oct. 20 walkout.
Regarding the terminated employee, according to The Verge, Netflix released a statement that said in part that “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.”