News & Politics

Is Netflix Caving to the Mob?

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

 

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos confessed that he “screwed up” by defending Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special.

In an interview Tuesday night, Sarandos told the Wall Street Journal, “What I should have led with in those emails was humanity. I should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees was really hurting.”

“Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication,” Sarandos then explained to Variety. “I should have led with a lot more humanity. I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made.”

Sarandos, who famously backed Chappelle in several internal memos, said his views on content not causing real-world harm were an oversimplification.

He argued at the time that “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.”

Following the special’s Oct. 5 release, a person called Terra Field—a transgender software engineer at Netflix—ranted against the company on Twitter, randomly bringing race into the discussion, even though she confessed that, as a white person, her biggest problem is when her name is misspelled at Starbucks.

One of three employees suspended for attempting to attend an executive meeting, Field has since been reinstated to her high-paying job.

Organized by transgender activists, a few radicals “walked out” Wednesday.

Related: Netflix Transgender Employees Walking Out to Protest Dave Chappelle

Nonetheless, Sarandos recently defended carrying the special, arguing, “We have articulated to our employees that there are going to be things you don’t like … But we are trying to entertain a world with varying tastes and varying sensibilities and various beliefs, and I think this special was consistent with that. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

The Netflix boss also said he still supports Chappelle’s work. “When we think about this challenge we have to entertain the world, part of that challenge means that you’ve got audiences with various taste, various sensibilities, various beliefs,” Sarandos said. “You really can’t please everybody or the content would be pretty dull. And we do tell our employees upfront that we are trying to entertain our members, and that some of the content on Netflix you’re not going to like.”

As corporate media breathlessly praises these cosseted illiberal employees, the rest of America moves on to real issues like China, Iran, Afghanistan, the supply chain fiasco, inflation, violent crime, southern border crisis, and vaccine mandates destroying lives.