Trans Netflix employees drop labor complaint over Dave Chappelle

Trans Netflix employees at centre of protests against Dave Chappelle’s show The Closer drop unfair labor complaint against streaming giant and one resigns

  • Terra Field has voluntarily resigned from Netflix after Dave Chappelle backlash
  • She has dropped the labor complaint filed with colleague B. Pagels-Minor
  • The pair claimed Netflix retaliated against staff for organizing a walk-out 

A trans Netflix employee who criticized comedian Dave Chappelle over his controversial TV special has resigned from the company and has dropped a labor complaint filed with a colleague.

Terra Field, a senior software engineer at the tech firm, announced on Twitter she had voluntarily resigned.

In a letter posted online, she wrote: ‘This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I’m relieved to have closure.’

She also announced she and her trans colleague B. Pagels-Minor, a game launch operations manager, are dropping their unfair labor complaint.

Pagels-Minor was fired for allegedly leaking the multi-million dollar salary Chappelle earned for his special, The Closer. 

Terra Field (left) has resigned from Netflix and dropped a labor charge against the company filed with colleague B. Pagels-Minor (right)

Chappelle’s The Closer (pictured) first aired on October 1 and gained millions of views but provoked a backlash with his comments about the trans community

The pair had alleged that Netflix retaliated against the workers to keep them from speaking up about working conditions, including ‘Netflix’s products and the impact of its product choices on the LGBTQ+ community.’

Laurie Burgess, a labor lawyer representing Pagels-Minor and Field, said: ‘My clients have resolved their differences with Netflix and will be voluntarily withdrawing their NLRB charge.’ 

Field said in her resignation letter: ‘I am going to take a month to rest, recover, and consider what I want to do next.

‘I have been working full time since 2003 and I don’t think I’ve ever taken more than a week or two off at once other than for medical leave. 

‘Hopefully the time will allow me to remember the things I love and miss about this work.’

Terra Field, a senior software engineer at the tech firm, announced on Twitter she had voluntarily resigned

Chappelle’s The Closer first aired on October 1 and gained millions of views. 

But his disparaging remarks about the transgender community raised protests within Netflix and from activists.

About 30 Netflix workers staged a an walkout and joined a rally at Netflix offices in Los Angeles.

Field was suspended by the company after attending a business meeting for senior executives but was quickly reinstated.

Before her suspension, she posted a viral tweet which said the Chappelle special ‘attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness’. 

Netflix said in a statement Monday: ‘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.’

Pagels-Minor has acknowledged they were the employee that Netflix fired last month for allegedly disclosing confidential financial information about what it paid for The Closer. The information was referenced in a Bloomberg news article. 

Pagels-Minor has denied the allegations.

Netflix faced a backlash not only due to the special but in how internal memos responded to employees’ concerns, including co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ assertion that ‘content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.’

Sarandos also wrote that Netflix doesn’t allow titles that are ‘designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line.’

Chappelle has courted controversy with his jokes in The Closer in which he asserts ‘gender is a fact,’ and criticizes the trans community as thin-skinned. 

The Closer was the third and last special Chappelle will produce for Netflix per his contract with the company. The Closer has scored 96 percent positive reviews from regular viewers on Rotten Tomatoes – but just 43 per cent from woke critics. 

Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings told staff the firm was ‘on the right side of history’ for continuing to stream and promote Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special The Closer.

A leaked transcript from an internal Netflix message board between company employees recorded disagreements about Chappelle’s controversial comedy special.

Netflix’s co-chief executive Reed Hastings defended the platform’s decision to continue streaming The Closer saying the company was ‘on the right side of history’

Hastings told employees that Chappelle is ‘a unique voice’ as he defended the comedian who has come under fire for his defense of author J.K. Rowling and jokes a vocal few are calling transphobic.

Transgender employees were so upset by ‘The Closer’ and Netflix’s stance that they joined Pagels-Minor in a staged walkout Wednesday.

When one employee asked if the company was ‘making the wrong historical choice around hate speech’ on the internal message board, Hastings replied ‘To your macro question on being on the right side of history, we will always continue to reflect on the tensions between freedom and safety.

‘I do believe that our commitment to artistic expression and pleasing our members is the right long term choice for Netflix, and that we are on the right side, but only time will tell,’ according to The New York Times.

 Netflix’s other co-chief executive, Ted Sarandos, has also defended the special noting the trans community’s concerns while insisting ‘that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm’

He also noted that Chappelle is popular with viewers, citing the ‘stickiness’ of his most recent special. 

Hastings wrote: ‘The core strategy is to please our members.’

‘In stand-up comedy, comedians say lots of outrageous things for effect. Some people like the art form, or at least particular comedians, and others do not.’

Another employee claimed that the famous comedian had a history of homophobia and bigotry.

Hastings replied: ‘We disagree with your characterization and we’ll continue to work with Dave Chappelle in the future.

‘We see him as a unique voice, but can understand if you or others never want to watch his show.’

He continued: ‘We do not see Dave Chappelle as harmful, or in need of any offset, which we obviously and respectfully disagree on.’

Hannah Gadsby calls out Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos for defending Dave Chappelle

The Australian lesbian comedian dragged Sarandos on Instagram:

‘Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. 

Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view. 

You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. 

F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult…

I do s**ts with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke!

I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.’  

This comes as Hastings’ fellow co-chief executive, Ted Sarandos, was dragged by Australian lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby after he used her comedy specials as examples of the streaming platform’s efforts for inclusivity as he defended Chappelle and his comedy special. 

Sarandos said that Netflix ‘was working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story’ specifically noting ‘we have Sex Education, Orange Is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.’

Gadsby, who has two comedy specials on Netflix, rose to fame after her first special Nanette began streaming on Netflix in 2018.

She posted on Instagram asking Sarandos not to ‘drag [her] name into [his] mess.’

‘F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult…’ she wrote.

Sarandos addressed staff anger over Netflix’s decision to stream The Closer in a company wide email.

‘We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix,’ Sarandos wrote in the email, obtained by Variety.

‘With ‘The Closer,’ we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.)

‘Last year, we heard similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,’ he continued.

Netflix continues to make the special available for streaming.

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