Dave Chapelle’s new comedy special The Closer has been in the news more for the comedian’s controversial statements in the special directed toward trans people. Both before and following its release, Netflix’s trans employees and allies protested the special and Netflix’s initial response. After scheduling a walkout to take place on October 20, the Trans* group has released a list of demands, The Verge reports.
In the special , Chapelle talks about criticism that came from the LGBTQ community. Chapelle’s special includes a number of derogatory comments about the trans community, and Chapelle says he supports Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling who has come under fire for repeatedly voicing anti-trans sentiments.
In the letter, the Trans* group says that “we want the Company to adopt measures in the areas of Content Investment, Employee Relations and Safety, and Harm Reduction, all of which are necessary to avoid future instances of platforming transphobia and hate speech, and to account for the harm we have caused and will continue to cause until the below measures are put in place.” The list includes requests to fund additional trans and non-binary content for the service, a fund to pursue and develop trans and non-binary talent for both content and within the Netflix organization, a revision to internal processes for assessing potentially harmful content, and more. The full letter follows below:
Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that there are many places where Netflix still has to grow when it comes to content relating to the trans and non-binary community. The Trans* Employee Resource Group, which includes trans and non-binary colleagues as well as our numerous allies, wants Netflix to immediately take the steps below to begin to repair the relationship between the Company, our colleagues, and our audience. Specifically, we want the Company to adopt measures in the areas of Content Investment, Employee Relations and Safety, and Harm Reduction, all of which are necessary to avoid future instances of platforming transphobia and hate speech, and to account for the harm we have caused and will continue to cause until the below measures are put in place.
- Create a new fund to specifically develop trans and non-binary talent
- This fund should support both above-the-line (ATL) and below-the-line (BTL) talent;
- This fund should exist in addition to the existing Creative Equity Fund;
- Increase investment in trans and non-binary content on Netflix comparable to our total investment in transphobic content, including marketing and promotion;
- Invest in multiple trans creators to make both scripted and unscripted programs
- across genres;
- Revise internal processes on commissioning and releasing potential harmful ("sensitive") content, including but not limited to involving parties who are a part of the subject community and can speak to potential harm, or consulting with 3rd party experts/vendors;
- Increase the ERG role in conversations around potentially harmful content and ensure we have best in class regional support on complicated intersectional diversity issues;
- Hire trans and non-binary content executives, especially BIPOC, in leading positions
Employee Relations and Safety
- Recruit trans people, especially BIPOC, for leadership roles in the company (Director, VP, etc.) and promote an inclusive environment for them;
- Allow employees to remove themselves from previous company promotional content (e.g. allyship and diversity videos, etc.);
- Eliminate references/imagery of transphobic titles or talent inside of the workplace, including but not limited to murals, posters, room names, swag;
- Acknowledge the harm and Netflix's responsibility for this harm from transphobic content, and in particular harm to the Black trans community;
- Add a disclaimer before transphobic titles that specifically flag transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia, hate speech, etc. as required;
- Boost promotion for Disclosure and other trans-affirming titles in the platform;
- Suggest trans-affirming content alongside and after content flagged as anti-trans.
We are employees, but we are members, too. We believe that this Company can and must do better in our quest to entertain the world, and that the way forward must include more diverse voices in order to avoid causing more harm. The Trans* ERG looks forward to working with the Company to make this a better, more entertaining place for us all.
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