Fired Netflix Staffer Denies Leaking Dave Chappelle Payment Data

B. Pagels-Minor was accused of leaking payout information regarding Chappelle's 'The Closer' standup special, a controversial program that sparked criticism.

Dave Chappelle attends the Netflix FYSEE Kick-Off at Netflix FYSEE

Image via Getty/David Livingston

Dave Chappelle attends the Netflix FYSEE Kick-Off at Netflix FYSEE

It’s Netflix’s word against a former employee’s.

Earlier this month, the streaming giant confirmed it had a fired a staffer for allegedly leaking data regarding Dave Chappelle’s The Closer, his sixth and final standup special under his 2016 Netflix deal. The comedy event set off a wave of backlash among viewers, activists, and even Netflix employees, some of whom staged a protest against the special.

Ex-staffer B. Pagels-Minor is credited with helping organize this week’s walkout, which went down less than a week after they were handed a pink slip. Netflix claimed they had fired an employee for leaking confidential information to the public. The data — published in an Oct. 13 Bloomberg report — reveals Netflix spent more than $24 million on The Closer, nearly $3 million more than what it spent on the wildly popular Squid Game series. The information, along with Pagels-Minor’s subsequent termination, fueled outrage over the controversial special, which has been deemed sexist, homophobic, and anti-trans. 

But Pagels-Minor, who is also trans, claims they did not leak Netflix’s internal figures to the press, but admitted to sharing sensitive information with co-workers.

“I collected the data, but I did not leak the data,” Pagels-Minor told NPR, adding the company did not give them a chance to prove their innocence. “It was just like, ‘Hey, you’re the person. You’re gone.’”

Netflix pushed back on Pagels-Minor’s claims following an internal probe.

“While we would never normally talk about an investigation like this, these claims are not supported by the facts,” a Netflix spokesperson told Deadline. “This employee admitted sharing confidential information externally from their Netflix email on several occasions. Also, they were the only employee to access detailed, sensitive data on four titles that later appeared in the press.”

The representative continued: “They claim only to have shared this information in an internal document, and that another employee must have leaked it. However, that document was missing data for one title and so cannot have been the source for the leak. In addition to having no explanation for this discrepancy, the employee then wiped their devices, making any further investigation impossible.”

Pagels-Minor’s attorney, Laurie M. Burgess, told BuzzFeed News that Pagels-Minor was considering taking legal action against Netflix, but was hopeful Wednesday’s walkout would lead to a resolution. 

Latest in Pop Culture