Netflix reinstates trans employee who criticised Dave Chappelle | ...but insists it was nothing to do with her tweets © Netflix

Netflix reinstates trans employee who criticised Dave Chappelle

...but insists it was nothing to do with her tweets

Netflix has reinstated an employee who criticised Dave Chappelle’s  latest special for transphobia.

Software engineer Terra Field had been suspended after for publicly calling out material in the comedian’s newly released show The Closer.

But the streaming service always insisted the action was taken because she tried to gatecrash a meeting of senior staff she should not have been eligible to attend.

In reinstating her, Netflix said she had no 'ill-intent' about joining the meeting, and that she genuine believed she was entitled to be in on.

She tweeted: 'I feel vindicated.'

The minor internal matter became major news in the US because it came after Field posted a long thread on Twitter about transphobia in Chappelle's work.

In it, she  started: ‘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…. 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.’

Field, who is trans, then reeled off an extensive list of other trans people who have been murdered this year.

Initially, Netflix issued a statement saying: ‘It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employee for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.’

Netflix chief Ted Sarandos has defended the special, saying the company supports the creative freedom of talent, saying: 'We don’t allow titles Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line…

‘I recognise, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. 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…’

The Closer has also been criticised by the National Black Justice Coalition, campaign group Glaad - originally the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation – as well as countless individuals. 

» Chortle review of Dave Chappelle: The Closer

Published: 13 Oct 2021

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