According to Netflix’s statement on Friday, Oct. 15, the company has sacked an employee for leaking “confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company” about how much Dave Chappelle was paid for a transphobic comedy special “The Closer.”
A single unnamed person “admitted that they downloaded and shared sensitive company information externally” following Netflix’s check of its internal access logs.
“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,” said a Netflix statement on Friday, October 15.
Netflix’s statement added that referenced information in a Bloomberg article that said that Netflix spent $24.1 million on “The Closer.” A 2019 Chapelle special, a Bo Burnham special, and the nine-episode success “Squid Game” had smaller budgets.
“The Closer,” has gained at least 10 million views since it was first aired on Oct.1. However, Chapelle’s comments regarding the transgender community sparked outrage within Netflix and among LGBTQ advocates, according to the New York Post.
Critics wanted Netflix to remove “The Closer” from its catalog, but its chief executive said Monday that he preferred to support “artistic freedom.”
“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,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief creative officer of Netflix, said in a corporate letter.
“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.” he went on to say.
According to the media watchdog GLAAD, Netflix’s policy of rejecting shows that cause hate or violence is violated by “anti-LGBTQ content.”
However, in an internal statement, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos assured managers that the comedy special does not cross the line on hate and will continue to be available on the online site.
“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him,” Sarandos said. “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 … 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 said in response to the harsh comments: “If this is what being canceled is about, I love it.”