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Trans Netflix engineer resigns as employees drop federal labor complaint

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

Two transgender Netflix employees have dropped a complaint they filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding how the company treated them in the midst of the controversy over Dave Chapelle’s comedy special, The Closer. Chapelle made anti-trans comments during the show.

Along with dropping the complaint, one of those employees, Terra Field, also announced her resignation from the company.

Related: Time’s Up lays off nearly all of their remaining staff to undertake a “reset”

The other employee, B. Pagels-Minor, had already been terminated by Netflix.

The October 27 complaint accuses the company of taking actions “to quell employees from speaking up about working conditions including, but not limited to, seeking to create a safe and affirming work environment for Netflix employees, speaking up about Netflix’s products and the impact of its product choices on the LGBTQ+ community, and providing support for employees whom Netflix has treated in an unlawful and disparate manner.”

Pagels-Minor was a program manager at the company, until they were fired in October.

They organized the Netflix walkout protest held on October 20, but the company claimed they fired them just days before the protest because they shared “confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” which Pagels-Minor denies.

Field, a senior engineer, wrote a viral thread on Twitter following the release of The Closer denouncing how Chappelle characterized the trans community as “offended.”

She was suspended by the company, which justified the suspension by claiming that Field and two other employees had attempted to attend a meeting held by board directors that she was not supposed to attend.

Netflix subsequently reversed the suspension when they admitted that a director had invited Field to the meeting prior.

A statement from Netflix released on Monday stated, “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.”

The company would not say if there had been a settlement or if there would be any change to its policies as a result of the complaint, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Also on Monday, Field announced she was leaving Netflix and posted her resignation letter to Twitter.

“This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I am relieved to have closure,” Field wrote.

Field then expounded on her friendship with Pagels-Minor and expressed her unending support for them.

“Shortly after B. was fired for something I did not and do not believe they did, I made a decision: sink or swim, I was going to walk side by side with B. as they had for so many of us while they led the Trans* ERG [Employee Resource Group].”

“Last week, B. had their son. They are both happy and healthy, and for me that is the note that I’d like this chapter of my life to end on. I want to focus on the joy, not the heartache.”

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, refused to remove the special and claimed at the time that it does not cross any lines and that Chapelle is simply too popular to remove.

Sarandos has since expressed regret for the way he handled the situation.

“I should have led with a lot more humanity,” he told NBC News the night before the employee walkout. “Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn’t do that.”

In that same interview, however, Sarandos said he did not consider Chapelle’s comments hate speech because they did not intend to cause physical harm.

“Where we’ll definitely draw the line is on something that would intentionally call for physically harming other people or even remove protections,” he said.

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