TOP News

Entertainment: Ted’s Big Stand: Will Chappelle Support Haunt Netflix Co-CEO?

Dave Chappelle Gets Standing Ovation Amid Netflix Special Controversy: “If This Is What Being Canceled Is, I Love It”

  Dave Chappelle Gets Standing Ovation Amid Netflix Special Controversy: “If This Is What Being Canceled Is, I Love It” Amid a swirl of controversy around his new Netflix special, The Closer, Dave Chappelle took center stage Thursday night at a star-studded and sold-out show at L.A.’s iconic Hollywood Bowl. Though the superstar comedian did not repeat any of the jokes that have been loudly rejected by members of the LGBTQ community, GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition, he thumbed his nose at the notion of cancel culture while also promoting messages of trust and love.

  Ted’s Big Stand: Will Chappelle Support Haunt Netflix Co-CEO? © THR Photo Illustration/ Adobe stock; Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

As the furor over Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special The Closer — widely criticized as transphobic — roils the industry weeks after its Oct. 5 premiere, the town’s opinions remain mixed on Netflix chief Ted Sarandos’ insensitive but forcefully artist-first handling of the situation.

While a number of LGBTQ+ stars and allies took to Twitter to voice solidarity with Netflix trans staffers’ Oct. 20 protest — Elliot Page, Jonathan Van Ness, Wanda Sykes, Ava DuVernay, Billy Eichner, Lilly Wachowski and Dan Levy, among them — just as notable were the Hollywood thought leaders, several of who have rich deals with the streamer and remained silent throughout the controversy.

5 Korean Elements of Netflix's 'Squid Game' That Got Lost in Translation

  5 Korean Elements of Netflix's 'Squid Game' That Got Lost in Translation The engrossing new Netflix series features several Korean layers that add more texture and color to its characters and backdrop.Hwang told South Korea's Cine21 magazine that he was inspired to graft elements of a survival drama into a Korean setting and create "a new survival genre" with Squid Game, which sees 456 cash-strapped people battle each other to the death in a series of children's games for the chance to bag a handsome cash prize.

More from The Hollywood Reporter
  • After 'Rust' Shooting, Hollywood Pushes for Gun Ban -- And Some Push Back
  • Netflix Partners With Tribeca Studios, Gold House for Film Fellowship Program
  • Netflix Nabs Bernie Madoff Docuseries From Joe Berlinger

As one top publicist says of their high-profile writer-producer client: “I don’t think he would ever support limiting the rights of an artist to speak his mind.” Still, Sarandos’ two tin-eared internal memos on the subject — which he later admitted to having “screwed up” — may have caused some irrevocable damage to the “Netflix culture of fear,” as one producer who’s worked with the streamer puts it.

“They kept people silent for so long, and now that spell seems to be broken and they have no clue how to deal,” says the producer of recent internal leaks. (One of those leaks resulted in the firing of B. Pagels-Minor, leader of the company’s trans resource group who allegedly shared viewer metrics with the media. “I’m here today because I’m free,” Pagels-Minor told reporters at the protest. “I actually get to talk to you about what’s going on.”)

Transgender resource group leader fired from Netflix after organizing upcoming walkout

  Transgender resource group leader fired from Netflix after organizing upcoming walkout The leader of a transgender resource group was reportedly fired from Netflix on Friday after organizing an upcoming walkout to protest the streaming company's handling of Dave Chappelle's special The Closer.The employee was fired for allegedly leaking metrics about the special to the media, the company said.

It was not as if Sarandos could not have anticipated the backlash to The Closer; several of Chappelle’s previous comedy specials tread similar territory and drew condemnation. Cindy Holland, Netflix’s former vp original content and unofficial liaison to LGBTQ staff groups who exited the streamer in 2020 amid a Sarandos-ordered shake-up, had warned the CEO multiple times that Chappelle’s repeated zeroing in on the trans community upset LGBTQ+ staffers and could lead to trouble. “She was the liaison with that community internally, and both she and Ted met with staff employee resource groups after the last go-round,” recalls a former Netflix insider. “Those groups have distrusted Ted on their issues.”

None of that is likely to erode Chappelle’s standing at Netflix, at least not so long as Sarandos is in charge: The comedian — who throughout the controversy has denied being transphobic — is said to be his favorite working stand-up, and Chappelle has performed at intimate Netflix parties. A spokesperson has confirmed that the streamer plans to produce more Chappelle specials.

Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Bounce Boosts Wall Street Optimism in Content Slate (But Stock Treads Water)

  Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Bounce Boosts Wall Street Optimism in Content Slate (But Stock Treads Water) With Netflix reporting better-than-expected third-quarter subscriber growth late on Tuesday and forecasting stronger fourth-quarter momentum, analysts are updating their views on the streaming giant’s outlook. But after a recent stock bounce thanks to optimism that subscriber momentum was improving, thanks also to Squid Game, investors seemed to change tack and be happy to play the waiting game. […]After all, Netflix shares dropped slightly in early Wednesday trading, trending down 1.2 percent at $631.11 shortly after 10 a.m ET.

As Sarandos himself told THR in an Oct. 19 interview, The Closer “is consistent with our comedy offering, consistent with Dave Chappelle’s comedy brand, and this is one of those times when there’s something on Netflix that you’re not going to like.” (Chappelle in turn has expressed appreciation for the support, saying in a video released Oct. 25, “Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix. He’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet,” while also agreeing to meet with the transgender community but saying he won’t be “bending to anybody’s demands.”)

But outside the insular walls of Netflix corporate culture, there exists a faction of Hollywood creatives who are quietly impressed that Sarandos was willing to “eat s***” for free speech, as the Netflix insider puts it.

It’s unclear what criticisms of the special have done to shape opinions outside Hollywood. In a THR/Morning Consult poll conducted among 2,200 U.S. adults from Oct. 19-22, some 46 percent of respondents said that they had heard “nothing at all” about Netflix’s defense of The Closer. Meanwhile, 12 percent surveyed said that they would end their subscription to a streaming service if it “decided not to remove a comedy special that has been accused of being transphobic and harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.” (About 21 percent of respondents would “consider ending my subscription” under those circumstances, the survey found.)

Netflix Protest Rally Relocates As Staffers Plan Walkout Over Chappelle Special

  Netflix Protest Rally Relocates As Staffers Plan Walkout Over Chappelle Special Multiple trans Netflix staffers and allies are set to participate in a virtual walkout on Wednesday afternoon to protest Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos’ handling of Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer. During the virtual walkout, the participating staffers will not do any work for Netflix and instead engage in content that […]During the virtual walkout, the participating staffers will not do any work for Netflix and instead engage in content that does support the trans community and donate to charities. The walkout coincides with a public rally, organized by the activist Ashlee Marie Preston, that relocated to Netflix’s office on Vine St.

The Laugh Factory founder Jamie Masada was one of the few figures to offer a full-throated defense of Chappelle, in an open letter calling the protests “an attack on the independence of comedy.” Masada adds to THR: “Comedians don’t want to be chastised. The stage is their sanctuary. Who are we to tell them what to say? If you don’t want to listen, don’t listen.”

Still, even Masada admits that in comedy a line does exist and offers the example of Michael Richards’ infamous outburst during a 2006 performance at his comedy club in which the Seinfeld actor lambasted a group of Black patrons, repeatedly using the N-word. “Michael came from a place of hatred,” Masada says, justifying the comedian’s lifetime ban from The Laugh Factory. “That was no joke. A woman was crying. That’s not comedy.”

Or, as Transparent creator Joey Soloway put it at the Netflix walkout: “Where is the line? … The line is anything that makes it worse.”

THR/Morning Consult poll © Provided by The Hollywood Reporter THR/Morning Consult poll

This story first appeared in the Oct. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Click here to read the full article.

'Hellbound' Ending Explained: Does the Baby Really Die At The End Of The Netflix Show? .
The fate of the baby in Netflix's gripping new K-drama "Hellbound" isn't the only major plot twist in the show's engrossing final episode.The gripping new show was reported to be the world's most watched Netflix television series on November 20, according to data from FlixPatrol.

See also