In the wake of fallout from Dave Chappelle's most recent special, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos sent a memo to his company addressing the issue.
In response to employees planning to stage a walkout protest, Sarandos claimed that what they produce doesn't "translate to real-world harm."
This didn't seem to sit well with the internet when the missive was shared with Variety.
Sarandos spoke with top leadership in the company before sending the email on Monday, October 11th to the entire company. He hoped to prevent an employee protest over the Dave Chappelle special, The Closer.
In his letter, he said:
"We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle's latest special on Netflix."
"With 'The Closer,' we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.)"
"Last year, we heard similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm."
Despite this claim, research shows that aggression from media translates to higher aggression in a person. It's not a one-to-one translation, but there are statistically significant short-term and long-term effects of violent media.
Of which, people were quick to remind Sarandos.
Dave Chappelle's special had a series of jokes at the expense of the LGBTQ community, and defenses of homophobic rapper DaBaby. He also defended J.K. Rowling for her bigoted comments on sex and gender, and declared himself "Team TERF."
Probably the most incendiary thing Chappelle did was pit the issues and controversies experienced by the Black community, especially Black men, against the bigotry experienced by the LGBTQ+ people.
Advocacy groups such as GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition released statements condemning the special.
Someone needs to tell Sarandos that there's nothing there to defend.
Netflix employees are planning a walkout protest on October 20th. A Trans employee resource group is arranging the protest because of the comedy special.