Transgender Netflix employees are speaking out against the streaming giant’s decision to release Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, which contains a litany of transphobic material and insensitive commentary.
TV writer Jaclyn Moore, known for her work on Netflix’s “Dear White People” and Peacock’s “Queer as Folk,” and senior software engineer Terra Field both took to Twitter Wednesday to address the anti-trans rhetoric performed by Chappelle and platformed by their employer.
A spokesperson for Netflix declined to comment when reached Thursday by the Los Angeles Times.
In Chappelle’s “The Closer,” the veteran comedian proudly declares himself “team TERF” in solidarity with “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who has been labeled a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) for repeatedly expressing anti-trans sentiments.
Throughout the special, the comic makes several other “blatantly and dangerously” transphobic remarks, some of which Moore outlined in her online resignation thread to Netflix.
“I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix,” she tweeted. “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.
“Chappelle was one of my heroes. I was at his comeback show in NYC. But he said he’s a TERF. He compared my existence to someone doing blackface. He talks about someone winning a Woman of the Year award despite never having a period should make women mad and that it makes him mad.”
In recent years, the “Dear White People” co-showrunner and executive producer has been vocal about her transition on social media and has even filmed content for Netflix’s “The Most” accounts, which spotlight LGBTQ+ talent and characters on the streaming platform.
Chappelle “ended his special with a ‘but I had a trans friend’ story. He says we don’t listen. But he’s not listening,” Moore continued. “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.
“So when he says people should be mad a trans woman won a ‘Woman of the Year’ award… When he misgenders… When he says he should’ve told that mother her daughter WAS A DUDE… I just can’t… I can’t be a part of a company that thinks that’s worth putting out and celebrating.”
Also in rebuke of Netflix’s collaboration with the self-proclaimed TERF, software engineer Field tweeted a grim and long list of trans people who were “not offended” by Chappelle’s comments — because they died in transphobic attacks before “The Closer” was released.
“I work at @netflix. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness — all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You’re going to hear a lot of talk about ‘offense’. We are not offended,” Field tweeted.
“What we object to is the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 38 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been killed so far in 2021. Historically, Black and Latinx women have been attacked at higher rates than other trans individuals.
“Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act,” Field continued.
“This is not an argument with two sides. It is an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don’t want us to be. … This all gets brushed off as offense though — because if we’re just ‘too sensitive’ then it is easy to ignore us.”
GLAAD, a watchdog organization that advocates for authentic LGBTQ+ representation in entertainment, also put out a statement Wednesday denouncing Chappelle’s Netflix set.
“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” the statement read.
“Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”