The Closer by Dave Chappelle is stirring much debate on Netflix. Dave Chappelle, an Emmy-winning comedian, has a history of telling jokes that are frequently viewed as shocking and disrespectful. His most recent Netflix comedy special, The Closer, doesn’t hold back on those jokes.
His long-standing, tumultuous relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, which holds him accountable for his transphobic remarks, is the focus of the show.
He attempts to end the conflict in the special, but he also stirs up fresh controversy. He made an attempt to stop the criticism he has been receiving by claiming that he is an ally who is supportive. However, he also mockingly referred to himself as transphobic, asserted that “gender is a reality,” and supported J.K. Rowling, who has also been accused of being transphobic.
The Closer has been his most divisive stand-up act to date as a result of the heavy criticism the stand-up routine has received.
The Netflix programme sparked intense debate among viewers and members of the LGBTQ+ community, including LGBTQ+ staff members at the firm. Because of its transphobic themes, many want the special to be taken off the streaming platform.
When he made multiple jokes regarding the LGBTQ+ community in his earlier comedy special, Sticks & Stones, which was released in 2019, he also caused an uproar at the streaming service. The LGBTQ+ community, however, is Chappelle’s main focus in his most recent programme, and he veers far further into jokes concerning transgender persons.
A group of Netflix staff members known as “Team Trans” staged a walkout in opposition to the company’s choice to show the special. Their walkout joined the hundreds of activists and supporters who had gathered for the same cause.
“Trans Lives Matter” and “Transphobia is not funny” were written on the signs they carried as they marched down Vine Street in Los Angeles.
The staff members fought for trans equality inside the business in addition to challenging the special. The workers handed Ted Sarandos, the company’s co-CEO, with a “list of asks” in an effort to demand equality.
Some of the requests were to include a disclaimer at the start of Chappelle’s programme stating that it contains transphobic humour, hire more trans people for higher-level positions within the organisation, and increase the promotion of content that is supportive of trans people. The campaigners are hopeful that by prohibiting damaging streaming content, the list would help prevent future walkouts.
Despite the firm facing a lot of criticism, the majority of higher-ranking Netflix workers, including Sarandos, have defended the programme. Even while groups like GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition have slammed Chappelle’s words in his special, Netflix executives assert that the special does not “cross the line” to be classified as hate speech.
The “Strong Notion that Information on Screen Doesn’t Directly Translate to Real-World Harm,” According to Sarandos
Reed Hastings, another co-CEO, endorsed the programme by stating, “We do not consider Dave Chappelle as damaging.”
The leader of the transgender employee resource group that planned the walkout, a Netflix employee, was dismissed. The employee was purportedly fired for allegedly leaking comedy special metrics to the media. The figures leaked revealed how much The Closer cost the business.
Since then, that employee has denied disclosing the information. A transgender employee was also suspended by the firm after tweeting their opposition to Netflix’s plan to distribute transphobic material.
With posters that read “jokes are funny” and “Netflix, don’t cancel free expression,” supporters of Dave Chappelle joined the staff in a counter-protest. Those who agree with his viewpoint claim that his general point got lost in translation.
In a post on Instagram, one of the rally’s key organisers, Ashlee Marie Preston, made it clear that their major objective was not to have Chappelle’s show cancelled but rather to change Netflix’s top executives’ attitudes about the trans community.
Chappelle even discussed the underlying purpose of the walkout, telling a recent show’s crowd that it wasn’t a battle between him and the community but rather between the corporate interests and what he can and cannot say.
Netflix respects the ability of its employees to leave the company at any time without being fired or suspended. However, none of the staff members was permitted to speak with the media.
After the walkout, Sarandos realised he handled the matter poorly and regretted not being more open with his staff. Sarandos acknowledges that he “should have led with a lot more humanity” in a statement. Further reflecting, he expresses regret for not understanding how his choice hurt his staff members before making it.
In his most recent special, Chappelle swore that this would be the last time he made any remarks against the LGBTQ+ community. He tries to persuade the audience to watch his previous specials so they can understand that he is not anti-trans and is fact pro-trans.
He has publicly said that he is ready to collaborate with the Netflix staff since the special’s debut. Additionally, he had stated in an Instagram post that he would attend the demonstration if invited, but he is “not caving to anybody’s demands.”
Chappelle’s career has suffered greatly while the controversy drags on because fewer people are watching his new documentary as a result of his previous special. His programme was the subject of one of Netflix’s largest disputes, which led to significant internal changes at the well-known streaming service.
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