Netflix, Dave Chappelle, and the streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos have been sharply criticized by Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby over their defense of Chappelle’s special The Closer.
The Closer, Dave Chappelle’s latest standup special for the streaming service, has come under fire this week for allegedly being transphobic. A memo from the executive, Ted Sarandos, stated that the special, in which Chappelle mocks gender identity and defends past remarks by Rowling, “does not directly translate to real-world harm” and won’t be removed.
In the weeks following the release of The Closer on Netflix on Oct. 5, Chappelle faced backlash for his comments about trans people. This also included making explicit jokes about trans women’s gender and defending derogatory remarks made by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. In defense of Chappelle, Sarandos believes that content on screen cannot directly cause harm in real life, and should not be removed.
What Did Ted Sarandos’ Memo Say?
Ted Sarandos continued: “We are working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story. So we have Sex Education, Orange is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby, and Dave Chappelle.”
Hannah Gadsby And Her Fueled Reaction
Lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby – whose specials Nanette and Douglas have received Emmy awards – responded in an Instagram post to Ted Sarandos on Oct. 15. Her post targeted the Netflix executive.
“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,” Hannah Gadsby wrote. “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 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,” Hannah Gadsby continued. “F*** you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do sh**s 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.”
Netflix’s “algorithm cult” comment is meant to reference the idea that key functions at Netflix are determined at least partially by algorithms. This includes things such as viewing suggestions and renewal decisions.
Netflix Has Seen This Before
House Of Cards was Netflix’s first original program, and the streamer always emphasized its great relationship with talent. Netflix’s reputation took a hit last week in the wake of the release of Dave Chappelle’s controversial new special The Closer. It featured top actors and Netflix executives decrying the comedian’s treatment of transgender people, alongside Ted Sarandos’ support for Chappelle.
Before Hannah Gadsby, the executive producer of Dear White People has said she will no longer work with the streaming service. She said, “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”