Netflix Employees File Unfair Labor Charge Following Chappelle Protests (UPDATE)

In a new stand-up clip posted to his Instagram, the comedian said he’s willing to meet with transgender employees at Netflix and that he didn't refuse offers.

Photo of Dave Chappelle

Image via Getty/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Photo of Dave Chappelle

UPDATED 10/30, 5:12 p.m. ET: Dave Chappelle’s The Closer special and its surrounding transphobia controversy have led to complaints being filed against Netflix over the streaming giant’s actions against employees in recent weeks.  

Two Netflix employees filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, Variety reports. Program manager B. Pagels-Minor, who was fired, and senior software engineer Terra Field, who got suspended, took their concerns up with NLRB over “false and pretextual reasons” and “retaliation”used against them, respectively. 

Pagels-Minor was fired after Netflix claims they shared information about the special’s viewership with Bloomberg News, which Pagels-Minor denies. They organized an Oct. 20 walkout of Netflix’s trans employees.

Field was suspended after sharing a Twitter thread about the Chappelle’s The Closer—which most recently got a new celebrity supporter in Caitlyn Jenner—but Netflix claimed it was due to the employee attending a quarterly business review uninvited. She was eventually reinstated, as Variety shares the company found no “ill intent.”

“We recognize the hurt and pain caused to our trans colleagues over the last few weeks,” a Netflix spokesman said. “But we want to make clear that Netflix has not taken any action against employees for either speaking up or walking out.”

The employees argue in the complaint that Netflix took actions to prevent them from speaking out, according to the Verge. Both employees signed Netflix employment agreements that “require private arbitration,” Variety shares, making it difficult to file lawsuits. 

“This charge is not just about B. and Terra, and it’s not about Dave. It’s about trying to change the culture and having an impact for others,” attorney Laurie Burgess told the Verge. “The charge is all about collective action. It’s about supporting your coworkers and speaking up for things you care about.”

This is just the latest in the ongoing Chappelle controversy, as people this week also defended Hannah Gadsby against the comedian’s recent remarks of her not being funny. 

See original story below.

Dave Chappelle is opening up about the controversy surrounding his latest Netflix special The Closer, saying that he’s not “bending to anyone’s demands.”

In a new stand-up clip posted to his Instagram, the 48-year-old comedian said he’s willing to meet with transgender employees at Netflix and that he did not refuse to speak with them. 

“That is not true—if they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about,” Chappelle says in the new clip, reiterating statements made earlier by his team to TMZ. “I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I’m the only one who can’t go to the office anymore.”

Chappelle continued, claiming the situation had to do with “corporate interests” and that the controversy is being framed as “me versus that community” by the media.

“Do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this,” Dave said in the video. “It’s about corporate interests, and what I can say, and what I cannot say. For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been loving and supportive, so I don’t know what this nonsense is about.”

Chappelle—who said he’s been uninvited from film festivals regarding the special— also shared that he has “conditions” if those in the community wish to meet with him, including that they can’t come if they haven’t watched The Closer in its entirety.

It was previously reported by the New York Post and other publications that TV personality Ashlee Marie Preston said she invited the comedian to join protesters at Netflix’s headquarters and that he “chose not to show up”—comments that Chappelle and his camp are now calling false.

The walkout last Wednesday was led by trans employees and allies, following the Oct. 5 release of the special that GLAAD and other civil rights organizations have slammed. Click here for a rundown of why many are calling the special—which calls out “cancel culture” and sees Chappelle declaring himself “team TERF”—transphobic.

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