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Netflix fires employee as Dave Chappelle comedy special drama escalates

In this photo illustration a computer and a mobile phone screens display the Netflix logo on March 31, 2020 in Arlington, Va.

Netflix bosses have fired an employee who leaked confidential data regarding Dave Chappelle’s controversial new comedy special, The Closer.

Bloomberg editors used the information in a Wednesday report, revealing chiefs at the streaming platform chiefs spent $24.1 million US on the comedian’s The Closer and $23.6 million on Sticks & Stones, Chappelle’s previous stand-up show for Netflix, which aired in 2019.

And on Friday, a representative for the company told The Hollywood Reporter the staffer had been fired for divulging the figures.

“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” the statement read. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”

Netflix bosses have been criticized for airing a comedy special that pokes fun at the LGBTQ+ community and three employees who publicly attacked the decision were suspended earlier this week.

Also on Friday, Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, whose 2018 comedy special Nanette was a huge Netflix hit, joined the growing chorus of disapproval over platform boss Ted Sarandos’ comments in support of Chappelle’s show, in which the comedian endorses views about transgender people, which the LGBTQ+ community and its allies consider offensive and transphobic.


Sarandos and his fellow executives in charge of the streaming service have also refused to remove the special.

Hannah shared a screen shot of a note she wrote to Sarandos, in which she raged: “You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. F*** you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do s***s with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke! I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.”

The Hollywood Reporter sources also suggest around 1,000 Netflix staff members, who identify as transgender or are supporters of the trans community, are planning a virtual walk-out on Wednesday, to further protest the decision by Sarandon and his fellow executives to stand behind The Closer.