Netflix's co-chief executive had name-dropped Hannah Gadsby and some of the other inclusive shows on Netflix to defend Chappelle's show.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of transphobia that some readers may find distressing
Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby lashed out at Netflix after its co-chief executive used her name to defend the company's decision to air Dave Chappelle's transphobic special. "F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult," she told Netflix's Ted Sarandos. Chappelle. targeted the transgender community and declared himself a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) in his comedy special, The Closer, which is currently streaming on Netflix. The streaming giant had come under pressure for allowing transphobic content to air on its platform. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's co-chief executive, defended the company's actions and tried to cash in the goodwill from producing diverse content on the platform including Gadsby's comedy specials.
Hannah Gadsby, who released two comedy specials — Nanette (2017) and Douglas (2020) — on the platform, didn't mince her words when she hit back at Netflix. "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," she wrote in an Instagram post, before calling out Dave Chappelle. “Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chapelle’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 shits with more backbone than you. She then added, "That's just a joke! I definitely didn't cross a line because you just told the world there isn't one." Gadsby hit back after Sarandos had used her special to defend Chappelle's special. “We are working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story,” read Sarandos’ email to staff, reported The Hollywood Reporter. “So 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,” he wrote.
Good on Hannah Gadsby not staying silent while Netflix try to imply that they've earned a little anti trans comedy on their platform by namedropping her. https://t.co/LSmRTN6KWQ— Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) October 15, 2021
“Distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries,” read the memo from Sarandos. “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. 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.”
Hannah Gadsby's first big Netflix special that went viral was ABOUT how comedy isn't an excuse for anything https://t.co/BCstiv4sNo— Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) October 15, 2021
Sarandos also claimed that Chappelle's words wouldn't hurt the trans community. "While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm," he wrote. Ironically, a Netflix documentary, Disclosure, studies "Hollywood's depiction of transgender people and the impact it's left on both the transgender community and American culture."
“It’s not transphobic. It’s not dangerous! You just didn’t get it!”— Jaclyn Moore (@JaclynPMoore) October 8, 2021
My DMs: pic.twitter.com/RKJ2M24OMY
As we reported earlier, Jaclyn Moore, an executive producer of Netflix’s show Dear White People, announced that she will no longer be working with Netflix after Chappelle’s special. Moore said she doesn't want to work with a company that continues to promote and profit from dangerous transphobic content. "He ended his special with a "but I had a trans friend" story," she said of Chappelle. "He says we don't listen. But he's not listening. Those words have real-world consequences. Consequences that every trans woman I know has dealt with. Bruises and panicked phone calls to friends. That's real. I've been thrown against walls because 'I'm not a "real" woman.' I've had beer bottles thrown at me. So, Netflix, I'm done," she wrote.
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