Netflix Has Fired Trans Employee Who Led Walkout Over Chapelle Special, Allegedly Leaked Data

Posted: Oct 16, 2021 7:00 PM
Netflix Has Fired Trans Employee Who Led Walkout Over Chapelle Special, Allegedly Leaked Data

Source: Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

As Julio reported on Thursday, Netflix's "Dave Chappelle: The Closer" triggered trans employees enough at Netflix that they took part in a walkout. The employee who led the walkout has since been fired, as they also allegedly leaked data. 

The fired employee, who is Black and currently pregnant and did not wish to be named, declined comment for The Verge. Another Netflix employee, however, did speak to the outlet. As Zoe Schiffler reported:

“All these white people are going around talking to the press and speaking publicly on Twitter and the only person who gets fired is the Black person who was quiet the entire time,” says a former employee in an interview with The Verge. “That’s absurd, and just further shows that Black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”

Schiffler referenced how metrics ended up in reporting with Bloomberg. That report in question, by Lucas Shaw from October 13, notes specifics about the reach and profitability of Chapelle's specials. Shaw also writes:

Netflix shares lots of company data, including salaries and quarterly results, with employees as part of its culture of freedom and responsibility. It does so on the condition that those employees don’t share financial results or the performance of individual titles with the public. But the Chappelle special has prompted leaks unprecedented in the company’s history.

Schiffler has more on the firing, including a statement from Netflix:

The employee was terminated on suspicion of leaking metrics to the press related to the Dave Chappelle special. Those metrics — about how much Netflix paid for The Closer and how many people it reached — subsequently ended up in a report on Bloomberg. While the employee had shared the metrics internally, they spoke out against the leaks to colleagues, worried they might hurt the walkout movement. 

The leaking of internal data is highly unusual at Netflix. While the company prides itself on transparency, employees are told that the culture can only thrive when Netflix data remains internal.

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the employees’ dismissal. “We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” they said. “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.”

Julio had also included in his reporting that another trans employee, Terra Field, who had attempted to enter a high-level meeting, was fired but has since been reinstated. 

Not all trans people are offended by Chappelle's special, however:

The user, @PostAshley42, also has a blog she included in her thread, where she notes "I'm largely right wing."

While Bill Maher could certainly have been expected to address this outrage on his HBO show, a new episode did not air this most recent Friday.

Chappelle's special is currently trending in the Top 10 on Netflix. It has a 96 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.2/10 stars on IMDb

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