Netflix employees who criticized Dave Chappelle special drop labor complaint

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Al Seib/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Al Seib/REX/Shutterstock

Two former Netflix employees who criticized Dave Chappelle’s comments directed at the trans community in his TV special are dropping their labor complaints and one has resigned from the company, it was announced Monday.

Terra Field, a Netflix software engineer who is trans, announced her voluntary resignation from the streaming company on Monday.

Field had spoken out against Netflix for promoting the comedian’s special The Closer, saying Chapelle’s comments were harmful to transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community. She was suspended during the controversy for attending a workplace meeting for senior executives where she was not allowed and was later reinstated.

“This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I’m relieved to have closure,” Field said about her resignation in a letter posted online.

Field dropped a labor complaint against Netflix filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Field and B Pagels-Minor, a game launch operations program manager who also is trans, alleged Netflix retaliated against the workers to keep them from speaking up about working conditions.

Pagels-Minor was fired by Netflix last month for allegedly disclosing confidential financial information about what it paid for The Closer to reporters at Bloomberg, which referenced the figures in an article. Pagels-Minor has denied the allegations.

Field and Pagels-Minor said the company bars employees from speaking out about “Netflix’s products and the impact of its product choices on the LGBTQ+ community”. But Pagels-Minor and Field have since dropped the labor complaints.

“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,” Netflix said in a statement Monday.

The Closer first aired on 1 October 2021 and gained millions of views. But Chapelle’s disparaging remarks about the transgender community raised protests within Netflix and from activists. About 30 Netflix workers staged a walkout on 20 October and joined a rally at Netflix offices in Los Angeles. Dozens of customers of the streaming giant also tweeted their decisions to suspend subscriptions in protest.

Netflix ran into criticism not only with the special but in how internal memos responded to employees’ concerns, including co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ assertion that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm”.

Sarandos also wrote that Netflix doesn’t allow titles that are “designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line.”

Netflix continues to make the special available for streaming. Netflix last reported 209m paid memberships globally after adding only 1.5m in its most recent quarter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.