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FeaturesCinema & TVWhy did Netflix land itself in soup over Dave Chappelle’s show? Find...

Why did Netflix land itself in soup over Dave Chappelle’s show? Find out 

Published: 21st Oct 2021 1:26 pm

Netflix may have hit a record 213.5 million subscribers globally, but that doesn’t mean everyone is happy with the content they are putting out. The streaming giant landed itself in a soup after airing a comedy special by Dave Chappelle which many found transphobic.  

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American stand-up comedian Chappelle has five Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and the Mark Twain Prize to his name, and his satirical comedy sketch series ‘Chappelle’s Show’ is world-famous. 

Chappelle got entangled in a controversy after he said in the show ‘The Closer’ that “gender is a fact” and that LGBT people are “too sensitive”, as reported by ‘BBC’. Making matters worse, Chappelle laughed off the backlash stating, “If this is what being cancelled is about, I love it.” 

Several people, including transgender activists and Netflix employees, began protesting in front of Netflix’s office in Los Angeles. LGBT celebrities, including Elliot Page and Lilly Wachowski, voiced their support on social media. 

“We are here today not because we don’t know how to take a joke. We’re here because we’re concerned that the jokes are taking lives,” said rally organiser Ashlee Marie Preston. Forty-four transgender people were killed in the US last year, according to Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organisation. 

Although the streaming giant issued a statement supporting the protestors, earlier Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had defended the firm’s decision to air the programme. In a leaked staff memo, he insisted that “content on-screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm”, and emphasised the importance of defending “artistic freedom”. 

Speaking to ‘Deadline’, he admitted to “screwing up the internal communication”. “I should’ve made sure to recognise that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made. I respect them deeply, and I love the contribution they have at Netflix. They were hurting, and I should’ve recognised that first.” 

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