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Netflix employees plan mass walkout over anti-trans Chappelle special. Celebs are backing them up.

Dave Chappelle, Netflix, transgender, employee walkout
Dave ChappellePhoto: Netflix screenshot

On Wednesday, LGBTQ+ celebrities will stand in solidarity with Netflix employees as they participate in a walkout led by the streaming company’s trans employee resource group.

The walkout was planned to protest the company’s refusal to remove its most recent Dave Chapelle comedy special, The Closer, in which Chapelle repeatedly uses derogatory language about transgender people.

Related: Netflix CEO says Dave Chapelle is too popular to ditch & trans employee gets suspended

It will take place at 10:30 am at Netflix headquarters in Hollywood and will be followed by a rally planned by activist Ashlee Marie Preston.

At the rally, a PSA will be released featuring LGBTQ+ celebrities, including Alexandra Billings, Colton Haynes, Angelica Ross, Jameela Jamil, and Jonathan Van Ness.

“We shouldn’t have to show up quarterly/annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities,” Preston wrote in an Instagram post advertising the rally.

“Instead, we aim to use this moment to shift the social ecology around what Netflix leadership deems ethical entertainment, while establishing policies and guidelines that protect employees and consumers, alike.”

Preston added that “a list of firm asks” will also be given to Sarandos.

These demands have already been released by the trans employee resource group. They include creating a fund to develop trans and non-binary talent, a commitment to hiring trans people of color for leadership roles, and the addition of disclaimers to any Netflix content that uses transphobic language.

“We believe that this Company can and must do better in our quest to entertain the world,” says the letter introducing the demands, “and that the way forward must include more diverse voices in order to avoid causing more harm.”

In The Closer, Chapelle announced he is a transgender exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) before launching into a derogatory diatribe about transgender women’s genitals.

The co-CEO of the company, Ted Sarandos, has refused to remove the special, claiming it does not cross any lines and that Chapelle is simply too popular to remove.

Since its release, Netflix employees have been speaking out against it, which has led some of them to be punished.

Three employees were suspended after attending a quarterly meeting of the top 500 corporate executives where Sarandos was defending the company’s decision to go forward with the program. The employees reportedly did not know they weren’t supposed to attend the meeting and have been reinstated.

But the company has since fired a Black, pregnant, transgender employee who was organizing Wednesday’s walkout. The employee, who asked not to be named for fear of harassment, was fired for allegedly leaking metrics about the special to the media.

In response to their firing, one of the employee’s former co-workers told The Verge, “All these white people are going around talking to the press and speaking publicly on Twitter and the only person who gets fired is the Black person who was quiet the entire time. That’s absurd, and just further shows that Black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”

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