Entertainment & Arts

Netflix Responds To Dave Chappelle Backlash & Confirms His Comedy Special Will Not Be Removed

#Roommates, following various critics voicing their opinion and Dave Chappelle himself responding to the controversy, Netflix has finally issued its stance on the award-winning comedian’s latest stand-up special, “The Closer.” According to new reports, Netflix sent a memo to employees confirming that it would not be removing “The Closer” or ending its long-standing relationship with Dave Chappelle.

As reported by @HollywoodReporter, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarados sent a memo to all current Netflix employees regarding the Dave Chappelle controversy—and not only did he make it clear that the stand-up special “The Closer” would remain, three Netflix employees (including trans worker Terra Field, who publicly criticized Chappelle) were also suspended for reportedly attempting to crash a company meeting that was only meant for higher-level employees.

Sarados’ memo read as follows:

“I wanted to follow up on ‘The Closer’ – Dave Chappelle’s latest special – as several of you have reached out following QBR asking what to say to your teams. 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.

Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special, ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest, and most award winning stand-up special to date. 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.’

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. 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.

In terms of our commitment to inclusion, we’re working hard to ensure more people see their lives reflected on screen and that under-represented communities are not defined by the single story. So we’re proud of titles like ‘Sex Education,’ ‘Young Royals,’ ‘Control Z’ and ‘Disclosure.’ Externally, particularly in stand-up comedy, artistic freedom is obviously a very different standard of speech than we allow internally as the goals are different: entertaining people versus maintaining a respectful, productive workplace.

Today’s conversation on Entertain the World was timely. These are hard and uncomfortable issues. We all bring different values and perspectives so thank you for being part of the conversation as it’s important we’re clear about our operating principles.”

You’ll recall that Netflix and Dave Chappelle have a very profitable and lengthy history, as the comedian signed a very lucrative multi-million deal for stand-up specials exclusively for the streaming service and “The Closer” was his final project underneath that deal.

 

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