Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos publicly backed Dave Chappelle as the comedian took to the stage to introduce Jay-Z at the 36th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame introduction ceremony.
‘I would like to apologize…nah, I’m just f***ing with y’all,’ Chappelle said as he began his speech in reference to the controversial transgender jokes he made in his most recent Netflix special The Closer, according to Rolling Stone.
He went on to praise Jay-Z and ended by saying: ‘And I am honored to be the n***a that gets to say, “My n***a, welcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,’ before hugging the producer and going backstage to give a beaming Sarandos a handshake.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos publicly backed Dave Chappelle (pictured) as the embattled comedian took to the stage to introduce Jay-Z at the 36th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame introduction ceremony
Chappelle was at the awards ceremony to introduce the man of the hour Jay-Z. ‘And I am honored to be the n***a that gets to say, “My n***a, welcome to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,’ he said as he hugged the Hall of Fame inductee
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos (right), who has publicly backed Chapelle since his comedy special debuted on the platform earlier this month, was pictured shaking hands with him in yet another public show of support
In a public show of support Sarandos (right) took a photo with the Chappelle backstage at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, with rockstar Dave Grohl (left) of or Nirvana
In a public show of support Sarandos also took a photo with the Chappelle backstage at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, and was seen candidly laughing at the comedian during a conversation.
He even hugged Sarandos’s wife and former US Ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole Avant.
Sarandos attended the event with his wife Nicole Avant and his father in law Clarence Avant, a veteran music executive known as ‘The Black Godfather’ who was himself being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The co-CEO has supported Chappelle since The Closer was released on the platform and has said that Netflix ‘was working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story’ specifically noting ‘we have Sex Education, Orange Is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself’.
Sarandos also addressed his staff’s anger over Netflix’s decision to stream The Closer in a company wide email.
‘We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix,’ Sarandos wrote in the email, obtained by Variety.
The Netflix co-CEO was pictured candidly laughing at the comedian during a conversation
Chappelle hugged Sarandos’s wife and former US Ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole Avant as the three had a seemingly very friendly interaction
‘I would like to apologize…nah, I’m just f***ing with y’all,’ Chappelle said as he began his speech in reference to the controversial trans jokes he made in his most recent Netflix special The Closer
‘With “The Closer,” we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc).
‘Last year, we heard similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,’ he continued.
Sarandos continued to back Chappelle at Saturday’s event – just a day after two transgender Netflix employees filed labor charges against the company claiming they were retaliated against for raising complaints about Chappelle’s controversial comedy special streaming on the platform.
B Pagels-Minor and Terra Field are filing unfair labor practice charges, with the National Labor Relations Board, against Netflix. They claimed the streaming platform tried to keep employees from speaking out about working conditions and Netflix’s commitment to foster a safe environment.
Pagels-Minor, a black transgender person and program manager, was fired for allegedly leaking the multi-million dollar salary Chappelle earned for The Closer. Field, a software engineer, was one of three employees who was suspended for attempting to join a director-level meeting. They both identify as transgender.
B Pagels-Minor (left) and Terra Field (right), who are both transgender, are filing unfair labor practice charges against Netflix alleging that the streaming platform retaliated against them for speaking out against Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special The Closer
Netflix has continued to stand by Chappelle and his comedy special, which was released on the streaming platform October 5
Netflix employees staged a walk out on October 20 to protest Chappelle’s comedy special
Pgels-Minor has denied that they shared the confidential information that Netflix paid $24.1 million for The Closer. Field was reinstated in her position once she confirmed ‘there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting’.
Hannah Gadsby calls out Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos for defending Dave Chappelle
The Australian lesbian comedian dragged Sarandos on Instagram:
‘Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess.
Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view.
You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted.
F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult…
I do s**ts with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke!
I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.’
Chappelle has courted controversy with his jokes in The Closer in which he asserts ‘gender is a fact,’ and criticizes the trans community as thin-skinned.
Pagels-Minor and Field filed the charge with the NLRB, which will investigate the allegations to determine if a settlement can be secured or a complaint can be issued.
If a settlement is secured, the two can be reinstated with backpay and the company will be forced to post a notice that workers are allowed to engage in protected activity.
Both of these outcomes are very important to the two.
Pagels-Minor organized an employee walkout earlier this month at the company’s Sunset Boulevard building following LGBTQ backlash against the comedian over controversial material he used in his Netflix comedy special, and by 7pm that evening, they had been terminated from the company.
They also cited the ill-planned timing for Chappelle’s Netflix special, which was released during LGBTQ+ history month and a day before the anniversary of the slaying of Matthew Shepard.
‘The ERG could have suggested that the special not be released in October, during LGBTQ+ history month.
‘Perhaps, they could have considered not doing it on October 5, the day before the anniversary of the brutal death of Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student who was beaten, tortured and left to die near Laramie on the night of Oct. 6, 1998.’
The Closer was the third and last special Chappelle will produce for Netflix per his contract with the company. The Closer has scored 96 percent positive reviews from regular viewers on Rotten Tomatoes – but just 43 percent from woke critics.
Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings told staff the firm was ‘on the right side of history’ for continuing to stream and promote Dave Chappelle’s controversial comedy special.
Netflix’s co-CEOs Reed Hastings (left) and Sarandos (right) have both defended the special. Hastings said the decision to stream The Closer was ‘on the right side of history’ while Sararndos insisted ‘that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm’