Former Netflix Employee Wants Dave Chappelle to Donate Cash to Trans Charity

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  • Dave Chappelle
    Dave Chappelle
    American comedian
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos by Getty/Handout/Netflix
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos by Getty/Handout/Netflix

One week after dropping her labor complaint against Netflix, the transgender woman who announced her resignation on Nov. 22 is speaking out about her experience, her future plans, and about a direct challenge she’s issued to comedian Dave Chappelle.

Terra Field is a systems engineer based in the San Francisco Bay area who was temporarily suspended by Netflix for allegedly crashing an invite-only online meeting about Chappelle’s controversial comedy special, The Closer. Currently, she’s taking a break, reviewing her options and considering where she’ll land next, but one thing she vows to do on every job interview is bring up what she tweeted in response to Netflix’s decision to stream Chappelle’s transphobic set.

Netflix Employees Stage Dave Chappelle Walkout: ‘Lives Are at Stake’

“The first thing I'm going to say is, ‘Listen, when you screw up, I’m going to talk about it and probably in public. So, please don’t hire me. We can just skip to the end,’” Field told The Daily Beast.

Chappelle has apparently not resolved to do anything other than perpetuate the myth that he was “canceled.” He broke a public pledge to stop making transphobic jokes just last week in an appearance at Madison Square Garden. He even had harsh words for high school students at his Washington, D.C., alma mater last week when they criticized him. Chappelle used the N-word and told the students, “I’m better than all of you,” according to Politico.

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts claimed that report was inaccurate and announced it would go forward with the renaming of a theater in Chappelle’s honor.

Watching all this happen, Field, who now has nothing but time on her hands, got to thinking.

“I thought, ‘What is the way that I could both pick a fight and do it for a good cause?” said Field. Her solution was an online fundraising campaign for a gender-affirming health clinic that serves the trans community in Chappelle’s home state of Ohio.

“I’d again like to suggest folks donate to my fundraiser for @EquitasHealth which does great work for trans people in the state of Ohio. Also, what a great day it would be for @DaveChappelle to make a sizable donation to them!”

“And so not only am I raising money for Equitas Health,” Field told The Daily Beast, “but you know, I’ve publicly called on Dave Chappelle to make a sizable donation in his name to Equitas Health. Since he cares so much about trans people and cares so much about Ohio and he’s such an ally to trans people, it just seems like it would make sense for him to make a donation. It’s a natural match.”

The end at Netflix, said Field, came as a relief.

“The last two months of my life was more stressful than when I transitioned. And that’s saying something,” she said. “I’m a firm believer in picking and choosing your battles and I think that’s really what it came down to, just making a decision that was right for my health, my family, B’s health, B’s family and also factoring in the way we care about these issues very much. And I don’t think either of us intends to be quiet about it going forward.”

B is B. Pagels-Minor, a Black trans employee whom Netflix fired for allegedly leaking that the company had shelled out $24.1 million for the special. They and Field helped organize a company walkout in protest of the streamer’s defending of Chappelle in October. Pagels-Minor was pregnant at the time. They tell The Daily Beast they now have a healthy baby boy.

“He arrived on 11/18 a few weeks early and is doing amazingly well and already has tons of personality,” Pagels-Minor said in a direct message on Twitter. Both they and Field noted they could not get into details about their decision to drop their unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, but last month Laurie Burgess, the attorney representing the pair, said her clients had “resolved their differences with Netflix.”

A spokesperson for Netflix provided this statement to The Daily Beast: “We have resolved our differences in a way that acknowledges the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, enables everyone to move on.”

But there was no response as to whether Netflix would be making a corporate donation to Field’s fund for Equitas Health. Representatives for Chappelle did not respond as of press time.

Field said she’s been commiserating with trans employees at Google and her former employer, Blizzard, who are fighting transphobia in the workplace. Looking back, she has no regrets, about anything.

“I don't think there’s anything that I would have changed,” said Field. “At the end of the day, had we not done what we did, there wouldn't have been 2,500 people in the trans Slack channel on Netflix and there wouldn’t have been this much attention and we wouldn’t have had these calls from creators that we had, saying ‘Hey, I’m not going to work with you if you’re going to put out stuff like this.’ 

“In terms of what was given up: a couple of months of my life and a fair amount of anxiety for me, to make some meaningful change going forward at one of the biggest media companies in the world and other companies. And that sounds like a bargain to me, and I’ll take it.”

The same goes for her transition, and her relationship with her two partners, one of whom has helped her successfully budget her finances.

“You know, the life that I led before, like it wasn’t a bad life, but it wasn't mine and there wasn’t a whole lot of joy in it. And so, the joy that I have gotten out of actually being myself is worth the enormous pile of bullshit.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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