Netflix’s recent axing of 290 staff targeted many of the firm’s wokest workers who are prolific social justice warriors on social media, it has been claimed.
The struggling streaming service has pulled the plug on several projects that were aimed at discussing race and LGBTQ issues, Variety reported, and axed the diverse employees working on and promoting them.
A total of 150 recruitment workers were fired, as well as another 70 animators, and 70 contractors working on promotional materials for the firm including social media and publishing.
Those promotional workers were assigned to work on Netflix projects Strong Black Lead, the Asian American-focused Golden, the Latino-focused Con Todo, and the LGBTQ-focused Most.
Netflix claimed its latest layoffs were due to ‘a slow down in revenue and decline in subscribers.’ But critics online say many of those given the boot were from minority groups – and others have speculated that the firings were part of a woke clear-out.
Common Sense with Bari Weiss’s weekly TGIF newsletter said: ‘The company framed the firings as “layoffs”—but 150 people doesn’t really make a dent for a company of 11,000 people. Those 150 happen to include, just by chance, some of the most Twitter-active social justice workers in the place.’
The streamer has found itself at odds with some woke staff who’ve gone on the record to slam their employer over shows they deem ‘harmful’, including Dave Chappelle’s The Closer comedy special.
Among the newly fired were Olivia Truffaut-Wong and Lydia Wang, who shared their upset on Twitter.
‘I was also laid off by Netflix today,’ Wang tweeted on Tuesday. ‘I really loved my job and my colleagues and I am a little heartbroken!’
Truffaut-Wong also wrote on Tuesday: ‘OK, yes, I am one of the Tudum layoffs (lol). I did a lot of work I’m proud of, met a lot of really awesome writers and editors, and made great friends. It’s the cycle of media life!’
H. Drew Blackburn, another laid off employee, recalled the turbulent saga where he did not know whether or not he had a job or not.
Among the newly fired were Olivia Truffaut-Wong (left) and Lydia Wang (right), who worked for Netflix’s Tudum, it’s content arm comprised of mostly women of color. The department had been hit with layoffs three weeks ago
‘An editor at Netflix’s little Tudum project just called me offering me a job with Tudum again,’ Blackburn tweeted after he was fired. ‘Then called me back 20 mins later to say they had the wrong Drew. Bright minds over there for sure.’
Tudum is Netflix’s marketing website which offered fans more in-depth information about its shows.
Netflix’s move also drew backlash form media critics and other animators who slammed the streaming company for leaving its employees high and dry after previously preaching the need to have a more diverse workforce.
Filmmaker Carly Usdin called Netflix ‘a joke’ and tweeted: ‘Uhhh is netflix only laying off the teams associated with making and promoting content for marginalized viewers?? that’s what it seems like.’
Karla Monterroso, who works to secure economic opportunities for women of color, tweeted: ‘Netflix hired a powerhouse team of creators from a variety of marginalized communities and they were performing exceptionally well.
‘Had us all invested in their work. They were then the first people they showed the door at the first financial difficulty.’
Matt Acuna, an animator for Bob’s Burgers, also criticized Netflix for the layoffs while taking on other projects with wealthy backers.
He tweeted: ‘What a great day for Netflix to announce they’re giving Ron Howard, a millionaire with no experience in animation, full control of an animated movie, while simultaneously snuffing out projects specifically focusing on marginalized groups. Funny timing, huh?’
The firings come after Elon Musk claimed the firm’s tanking share price was due to its content ‘being infected by the woke mind virus.’
Netflix’s show about a pregnant man, He’s Expecting, was cited as a prime example of content designed to appeal to a tiny minority that had sent viewers switching-off in their droves.
Woke staff anger at Dave Chappelle’s The Closer comedy special also illustrated the internal strife at the firm. A small but extremely vocal minority of Netflix staffers accused the streamer of ‘harming’ transgender people simply by letting Chappelle defend author JK Rowling unchecked.
It’s unclear if any of those staffers who protested outside the office have since been given their pink slip.
Earlier this week, Netflix announced a new crackdown on woke staff who try to interfere in shows they deem ‘harmful’ or which leave viewers feeling ‘unsafe.’
In a memo to employees following the mass layoffs, Netflix heads told their staff: ‘As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful.
‘If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.’
A Netflix spokesperson told DailyMail.com: ‘As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company. So sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly US-based.
‘These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues. We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition. A number of agency contractors have also been impacted by the news announced this morning. We are grateful for their contributions to Netflix.’
Commenting on the cull at Tudum, the spokesperson continued: ‘We are making changes to how we support our publishing efforts, including bringing some of this important work in-house. Our social channels continue to grow and innovate, and we are investing heavily in them.’
Netflix’s recent layoff further targeted employees of its Tudum branch, which was predominately made up of women and people of color. The employees expressed their dismay over the firings on Twitter
Netflix has also scrapped a host of woke shows – the most famous of which is Meghan Markle’s doomed animation Pearl, about a socially-conscious girl said to have been based on Meghan herself.
Other scrapped projects included Antiracist Baby and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, two adaptions by Critical Race Theory expert Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, as well as a kids’ fantasy series Wings of Fire from executive producer Ava DuVernay, and the children’s film With Kind Regards From Kindergarten.
The most notable of the scrapped works was Antiracist Baby, based on Kendi’s book of the same name, which had been envisioned as a series of animated vignettes set to music and intended to explore racism in America.
Netflix had previously said that the show would ‘leverage the power of earwormy songs to empower kids and their caregivers with simple tools to uproot racism in ourselves and society.’
Also cancelled was a documentary written by Kendi, titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, which was aimed at teens and young adults.
Netflix is still proceeding with a third Kendi project aimed at adults, titled Stamped From the Beginning.
Also scrapped was the kids’ fantasy series Wings of Fire, based on the book series by Tui T. Sutherland’s, which would have seen famed black filmmaker Ava DuVernay as an executive producer.
Although a fantasy story, Wings of Fire explores themes of racism and prejudice through its fictional world.
Another project, which was revealed to be a film adaption of Adam Kline’s With Kind Regard from Kindergarten, was also cancelled by Netflix.
Netflix laid of 150 employees on Tuesday, many of whom were working on creating and promoting projects focusing on marginalized communities as the streaming giant appears to shift away form ‘woke’ content
Ibram X. Kendi saw two of the three Netflix projects based on his works called off
Along with Antiracist Baby, Kendi’s Stamped book aimed at kids had its adaptation cancelled
The fantasy series Wings of Fire and Adam Kline’s With Kind Regard from Kindergarten were both also canceled
Netflix ended the first quarter of this year with 221.6 million subscribers, slightly less than the final quarter of last year.
The company blamed the quarter-over-quarter erosion to suspension of its service in Russia due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
A drop of just 200,000 users — less than 0.1 percent of its total customer base — was enough to send Wall Street panicking when Netflix reported quarterly earnings in April.
Chief financial officer Spence Neumann said on an earnings call that Netflix would be ‘pulling back’ on spending for the next two years, while continuing to invest billions of dollars in the platform.
The Silicon Valley tech firm reported a net income of $1.6 billion in the recently ended quarter, compared to $1.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Netflix believes that factors hampering its growth include subscribers sharing accounts with people not living in their homes.
The streaming giant estimated that while it has nearly 222 million households paying for its service, accounts are shared with more than 100 million other households not paying subscription fees.
Netflix is testing ways to make money from people sharing accounts, such as by introducing a feature that lets subscribers pay slightly more to add other households.
Last week, Netflix dished out a new ‘culture memo’ to staff telling them if they are offended by content the company is working on, they can seek employment elsewhere.
The guidance came largely in response to workers saying they would part ways with the company if they continued to work with Dave Chappelle, whose recent specials for the streamer have caused backlash over jokes about transgender people.