Netflix has fired a staffer who is alleged to have leaked the amount of money the streaming giant paid comedian Dave Chappelle for his latest controversial special “The Closer,” which aired earlier this month.
The company made the announcement Friday, noting that the financial information disclosed was confidential. In an announcement, Netflix said that the unnamed employee shared “confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company.”
“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 statement added.
Netflix noted further that the financial information was disclosed in an article from Bloomberg News, which said the streaming giant spent $24.1 million on the special, which aired for the first time last week.
In addition, the news outlet also reported on lower amounts budgeted for a previous Chappelle special in 2019, as well as a Bo Burnham special and “Squid Game,” a nine-episode feature that was a hit with viewers.
The company also said that after reviewing internal access logs officials were able to identify a single person who subsequently “admitted that they downloaded and shared sensitive company information externally.”
Chappelle’s latest special first aired Oct. 1 and gained at least 10 million views. But his jokes during the special about transgender individuals caused a stir within Netflix and from outside LGBTQ activists who were upset by them.
One media watchdog organization, GLAAD, claimed that the “anti-LGBTQ” content marked a violation of the streaming company’s policy to pass on shows and programs that incite violence and hate.
But Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO, said in an internal memo to managers he did not think that the show crossed “the line on hate” and, as such, will remain available to subscribers.
“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,” noted Sarandos
A week after the show premiered, Chappelle appeared at the Hollywood Bowl and laughed off efforts to try and get the special canceled.
“If this is what being canceled is about, I love it,” Chappelle said as fans gave him a standing ovation, according to reports.
“I don’t know what to tell you, except I’m a bad motherf***er.”
“F*** Twitter. F*** NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid-ass networks,” he reportedly said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life.”
During his special, Chappelle lamented the so-called ‘cancel culture’ with examples.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God,” Chappelle noted, in reference to the “Harry Potter” author and movie franchise creator. “Effectively, she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as (expletive), they started calling her a TERF.
“I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” he added. “TERF” stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”
Such remarks earned him condemnation from some LGBTQ groups and activists including Jaclyn Moore, an executive producer and showrunner for “Dear White People.” Moore tweeted that she won’t work with Netflix any longer until the company stops airing content that pokes fun at transgenderism.
“I told the story of my transition for @netflix and @most’s Pride week. It’s a network that’s been my home on @DearWhitePeople. I’ve loved working there. I will not work with them as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content. I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But 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,” Moore wrote.
Last week, trans activists working for the company scheduled a walkout in protest.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!” wrote a leader for the trans employee resource group.
The walkout is being planned for Oct. 20.
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