Removing Chappelle Special Isn't on Netflix Employees' List of Demands Ahead of Walkout

Netflix's trans employee resource group (ERG) gave the company a list of demands ahead of its planned walkout on Wednesday, which was published by The Verge on Monday.

Though the employees seek a larger role for transgender people at the company and more trans-positive content on the streaming service, removing Dave Chappelle's controversial standup special, The Closer, was not included on the list.

"We want the company to adopt measures in the areas of content investment, employee relations and safety, and harm reduction, all of which are necessary to avoid future instances of platforming transphobia and hate speech," the employees wrote in a statement supplied to The Verge.

Dave Chappelle
Netflix was given a list of demands from the trans employee resource group planning a walkout on Wednesday related to comments they feel are transphobic in Dave Chappelle's stand-up special, "The Closer." Above, Chappelle is seen performing in "The Closer." Mathieu Bitton/Netflix

The list of demands comes after Friday's news that Netflix fired a leader of the trans ERG who helped organize the upcoming virtual walkout. There has been some dispute over why the employee, who requested anonymity, was terminated. Netflix has only said it was due to the leaking of confidential information, though some have said it was specifically due to metrics leaked to Bloomberg regarding Chappelle's specials—which include material many deemed to be transphobic—on the streamer.

The ERG wrote they want Netflix to "adopt measures in the areas of Content Investment, Employee Relations and Safety, and Harm Reduction, all of which are necessary to avoid future instances of platforming transphobia and hate speech."

In terms of investment, the group asked for the creation of a fund to "specifically develop trans and non-binary talent." The ERG also stated it wanted Netflix to increase investments in "trans and non-binary content" that's "comparable to our total investment in transphobic content, including marketing and promotion."

Additionally, they demand Netflix "invest in multiple trans creators to make both scripted and unscripted programs across genres."

The demands list also sought to "[I]ncrease the ERG role in conversations around potentially harmful content and ensure we have best in class regional support on complicated intersectional diversity issues." In addition, Netflix must "hire trans and non-binary content executives" and "recruit trans people, especially BIPOC, for leadership roles in the company."

Included on the list is the elimination of "references/imagery of transphobic titles or talent inside of the workplace, including but not limited to murals, posters, room names, swag."

The group never mentions Chappelle by name in its list of demands, nor did it request the removal of his work or any other titles from the streaming service. However, one item on the list is to "[a]dd a disclaimer before transphobic titles that specifically flag transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia, hate speech, etc. as required."

Netflix has endured controversy since the release of The Closer on October 5, and many people have criticized the service for not pulling the special or at least censoring it/adding a disclaimer warning about the potentially offensive jokes.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has defended the decision to keep The Closer—and other Chappelle specials with similarly transphobic comments—on the streamer. The company also initially suspended a trans software engineer, Terra Field, after she tweeted about the show, though she was later reinstated. (Netflix has denied Field's suspension was the result of her Twitter activity.)

In addition to the trans ERG, the company has 14 other ERGs that serve Black, Latinx, veteran, disability, Indigenous and other communities.

Newsweek contacted Netflix for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.