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Netflix and Dave Chappelle (A)
Kaufmann, Lauren; Botha, Helet; Mead, Jenny Case E-0499 / Published October 12, 2023 / 13 pages.
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Product Overview

In late 2021, Netflix leadership had to deal with some fierce employee and public blowback after airing The Closer, a comedy special by comedian Dave Chappelle. In the special—the last of six that Chappelle was contracted to make for Netflix—his targets included the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, plus others (LGBTQ+) community, particularly the transgender and nonbinary segments of that population. Netflix co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings were caught by surprise by the reaction, particularly from Netflix employees, to the special. While supportive of Chappelle despite his often-incendiary remarks over the years, Sarandos and Hastings knew they had to do major damage control. Had they made the wrong decision in allowing this particularly strident special to air? Should they take it off the platform? What was the future of Netflix’s relationship with Chappelle? And—very importantly for a company that prized its workforce and had tried to create a culture of inclusion and diversity—how would they deal with Netflix’s many disaffected employees?




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  • Overview

    In late 2021, Netflix leadership had to deal with some fierce employee and public blowback after airing The Closer, a comedy special by comedian Dave Chappelle. In the special—the last of six that Chappelle was contracted to make for Netflix—his targets included the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, plus others (LGBTQ+) community, particularly the transgender and nonbinary segments of that population. Netflix co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings were caught by surprise by the reaction, particularly from Netflix employees, to the special. While supportive of Chappelle despite his often-incendiary remarks over the years, Sarandos and Hastings knew they had to do major damage control. Had they made the wrong decision in allowing this particularly strident special to air? Should they take it off the platform? What was the future of Netflix’s relationship with Chappelle? And—very importantly for a company that prized its workforce and had tried to create a culture of inclusion and diversity—how would they deal with Netflix’s many disaffected employees?

  • Learning Objectives