Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix stand-up comedy special The Closer, released on October 5, has been criticized for many things including its transphobia and attacks on the LGBTQ community.
Though, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has released a few statements about the matter in response to the outrage, none have actually included any outright apology or admittance of oversight.
In light of this Netflix employees, the community and allies have spoken out, expressing their disappointment in the special as well as the company’s responses. Ultimately leading to trans employees and allies executing a walkout in protest on Wednesday.
In the midst of all of this, one trans employee was accused and fired for leaking confidential information to the press, which they deny ever having done. B. Pagels-Minor joined Audacy's Shira and Mitchell on Let's Go There to discuss their side of the story.
Answering the first question, which Pagels-Minor explained to one “one of the things I think that has been most misconstrued.” Was that anyone protesting to have the special taken off Netflix were “pretty much all external… they were not internal Netflix employees.”
Pagels-Minor went on to note, “one of the things that happens when you’re a Netflix employee is that you do understand the cultural values of Netflix — judgement, curiosity, things like that. But there’s also this idea of entertaining the world… and creative freedom. And so taking down the special was not a demand from the internal team because that would have gone against the cultural values of Netflix."
Internally the concern was along the lines of “how the heck do we lower the amount of harm that content like this can create?”
According to B. “there’s a few different ways to do that.” One would be to “make sure that you’re actually creating trans affirming content,” which they pointed out is “pretty lacking when you think about it.” The next thing that could have been done was “ensuring that people understood that content that was in this special could be considered transphobic and homophobic so people we’re aware.” Giving people such context that would knowingly not watch in order to no be exposed to it if they didn’t want to. All of which to Pagels-Minor seemed rather “reasonable”
As for the suspensions — this is how B. explains it all went down, calling the entire situation “a very weird and strange thing.”
“Some individuals were told that ‘Hey, by the way Ted is going to be discussing the special in this meeting.” Later, anyone who attended the meeting, even including those who were sent a link to attend it, were later suspended for “having ill intent by joining the meeting.”
As B. now understands, the meeting was a QBR meeting which historically was for director level or above. With that said, the meeting was a live stream so any accusations of disruptions or “people busting into the room” couldn’t be farther from the truth, “they literally just sat back and listened quietly,” Pagels-Minor noted.
After an investigation it was determined that not only was there no ill intent from anyone who joined the meeting, but that further more the link to join was provided by someone at a director level.
As a transgender individual and leader of a trans employee resource group, for B. the main concern was dealing with the many Netflix employees that were left distraught and feeling unsafe over the ordeal. An outcome, they believe could have been avoided.
While Pagels-Minor isn’t concerned, or for that matter even interested in getting their job back, they do want Netflix “to take action on the very reasonable list of asks the trans community have — invest in content, hire people, be more thoughtful.” In addition to receiving “a reasonable severance for myself,” in order for them to take the time off needed to spend time with their soon to be born baby.
Before the conversation came to a close, B. addressed and shared their thoughts about the current CEO’s ability to be a well-rounded leader and whether they believed he should step down from the position or not.
To hear the answer and so much more, listen to the entire interview from Let's Go There above.