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Netflix chief Ted Sarandos defends controversial Dave Chappelle special in staff memo: Reports

Netflix chief Ted Sarandos defends controversial Dave Chappelle special in staff memo: Reports

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Netflix chief Ted Sarandos defends controversial Dave Chappelle special in staff memo: Reports

Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart to perform at 9/11 benefit showDave Chappelle, Jon Stewart to perform at 9/11 benefit showAPNetflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is defending his decision to keep comedian Dave Chappelle’s controversial special “The Closer” on the streaming service. In a Friday staff memo obtained by Variety and The Verge, Sarandos pledged Netflix’s commitment to the special, despite backlash about the comedian’s transphobic comments. “Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him,” Sarandos wrote in Chappelle’s defense. He continued: “As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom – even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful, like ‘Cuties,’ ‘365 Days,’ ’13 Reasons Why,’ or ‘My Unorthodox Life.’ “Chappelle drew criticism for his comments in the special about the transgender community, including his defense of author J. K. Rowling, who previously conflated sex with gender and defended ideas suggesting that changing one’s biological sex was a threat to her own gender identity.”They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God,” Chappelle said. “Effectually she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as (expletive), they started calling her a TERF… I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”TERF is an acronym that stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminists” and describes feminists who are transphobic.In the memo, Sarandos used Chappelle’s previous special “Sticks & Stones” as an example, writing that it was also “controversial” and “our most watched, stickiest, and most award winning stand-up special to date.” USA TODAY has reached out to Netflix for comment. ‘The Closer’: Dave Chappelle says he’s ‘Team TERF,’ defends J.K. Rowling in new Netflix comedy specialSarandos also said Netflix doesn’t believe that “The Closer” promotes hate speech.”Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line,” he said.”I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.””The Closer,” the sixth installment in the comedian’s Netflix deal, which the “Chappelle’s Show” comedian describes as “his last special for a minute,” includes tongue-in-cheek jokes about race, the coronavirus pandemic and negotiating “the release of DaBaby” after the rapper’s homophobic comments. Many on social media slammed Chappelle and the streaming platform, including writer Jaclyn Moore, who also serves as showrunner for Netflix’s “Dear White People.”I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, “I’m not a ‘real’ woman.” I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done. https://t.co/2naqrzW0G2— Jaclyn Moore (@JaclynPMoore) October 7, 2021In-depth story: How trans ‘Harry Potter’ fans are grappling with J.K. Rowling’s legacy after her transphobic comments”I’ve been thrown against walls because, ‘I’m not a “real” woman,’ ” Moore, who is transgender, tweeted. “I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done.”Advocacy group GLAAD responded to the memo Monday.“Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on the platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that,” GLAAD said in a statement. “While Netflix is home to groundbreaking LGBTQ stories, now is the time for Netflix execs to listen to LGBTQ employees, industry leaders, and audiences and commit to living up to their own standards.”Last week, the group tweeted that Chappelle’s brand “has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”TERF: What’s a TERF and why is ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling being called one?Contributing: Elise Brisco, Cydney Henderson


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