‘I’m relieved to have closure’: Netflix trans workers drop complaint over Chapelle special, one resigns

Two transgender workers at Netflix have dropped a labor complaint against the company that involved the streaming giant’s airing of a Dave Chapelle comedy special that some thought made disparaging remarks about transgender people, The Washington Times reports. 

Additionally, software engineer Terra Field, a transgender woman, resigned from Netflix as of Sunday.

“This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I’m relieved to have closure,” Field wrote in a resignation letter posted online.

Field was suspended by Netflix after attending a meeting with senior executives, and fellow trans worker B. Pagels-Minor was fired on suspicion of leaking information about how much Netflix paid Chapelle for the special to Bloomberg News.

Complaint settled

The two workers filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Netflix, alleging that the company punished trans workers for speaking out about working conditions and “the impact of its product choices on the LGBTQ+ community.”

Field and Pagels-Minor also organized an employee walkout on Oct. 20 to bring attention to the LGBT community’s concerns.

Pagels-Minor admitted to being the one fired for leaking the information about The Closer — which many trans people felt was disparaging toward their community — but denies the allegations. In the special, Chapelle said that gender is a “fact,” which is apparently offensive.

“We have resolved our differences in a way that acknowledges the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, enables everyone to move on,” Netflix said in a statement Monday.

Netflix was criticized not only for airing the special but for internal responses to criticism, including an email by co-CEO Ted Sarandos which said that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

Sarandos apologizes

Sarandos later apologized for the emails, saying, “What I should have led with in those emails was humanity. I should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees was really hurting.”

Netflix did not bow to pressure from the LGBT community to remove the special, however, and it remains available for streaming.

Ultimately, Sarandos said that Netflix doesn’t allow content “designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line.”

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