Netflix Defends Dave Chappelle’s Controversial ‘The Closer,’ Suspends Protesting Employees

On Friday, the company’s CEO, Ted Sarandos, issued an internal memo, offering managers guidance on how to handle employees and talent speaking out against the comedian and his latest set for the streamer, which has been accused of being homophobic and transphobic by critics and some of its own staff members. “It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues, so I wanted to give you some additional context. You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do,” Sarandos writes in the memo before likening the response to the backlash Netflix received for shows and docs like, Cuties, 13 Reasons Why, and My Unorthodox Life.

“We don’t allow titles Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line. 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,” Sarandos adds. The Netlfix chief goes on to reinforce the company’s commitment to inclusive programming and lists off a number of titles he considers emblematic of that commitment.

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