Netflix fires the organizer of a trans employee walkout

A picture of Dave Chapelle during 'The Closer.'
Dave Chappelle during ‘The Closer.’ Mathieu Bitton
  • An unnamed Netflix employee was fired for leaking internal data, the company said.
  • Netflix is under fire for supporting Dave Chappelle’s comedy special, which features transphobic jokes.
  • The ex-employee organized a planned October 20 walkout in protest of Netflix’s stance.

Netflix said Friday it had fired the leader of a trans resource group at the company for leaking financial data “outside the company.”

The now ex-employee, who did not want to share their identity for fear of online harassment, but who the Verge reported is “Black” and “pregnant,” is accused of sending information to Bloomberg detailing the higher-than-average cost to produce Dave Chappelle‘s latest Netflix special, “The Closer,” which has been criticized for containing transphobic comments. The individual was also in charge of staging a walkout on October 20 to protest Netflix’s handling of the controversial comedy special.

Hollywood Reporter first reported the firing on Friday.

“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a Netflix spokesperson said to Insider on Friday. “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.”

The employee told Bloomberg that Netflix spent exorbitant amounts of money to produce Dave Chapelle’s comedy specials.

According to the Bloomberg report, Netflix spent a whopping $US24.1 ($AU32) million on The Closer and $US23.6 ($AU32) million on Chappelle’s 2019 special, “Sticks & Stones.” For comparison, Netflix spent $US21.4 ($AU29) million to produce the cultural phenomenon “Squid Game.” The internal documents also revealed that Chappelle’s 2019 special had an “impact value” of $US19.4 ($AU26) million, meaning the special cost more to produce than it created in value for the company.

A Netflix spokesperson said a review of internal logs found that only one employee had accessed the information shared with Bloomberg.

Critics tore into “The Closer,” which debuted October 5, after the comedian made transphobic comments in the special, including “gender is a fact” and voicing support for “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who has made anti-trans comments in the past.

Multiple Netflix employees took to social media condemning the special and Netflix’s decision to give Chappelle a platform. LGBTQ+ comedian Hannah Gadsby criticized Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos in an Instagram post on Friday, after Sarandos referenced her in a memo defending the decision to air Chappelle’s special. Jaclyn Moore, who identifies as trans and works as an executive producer on Netflix’s “Dear White People,” announced she would stop working with the company, which she said profits from “blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”

Meanwhile, Netflix reinstated trans employee Terra Field and two others who were suspended for attending an executive meeting uninvited to protest Chappelle’s special.

“Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly, and we support their right to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson previously told Insider.