From the moment Netflix announced itself as an original programming player with House Of Cards, the streamer has been touting its great relationship with talent. That reputation has taken hit over the last week in the wake of Dave Chappelle’s controversial new special The Closer which has had top Netflix talent denounce the comedian’s comments about transgender people as well as Netflix’s support of Chappelle led by co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
Last week, Dear White People executive producer Jaclyn Moore said that she would no longer work with the streamer “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”
Tonight, Emmy-winning comedian Hannah Gadsby, who was name-checked by Sarandos in his second internal memo defending Chappelle’s special, went further, eviscerating the top executive in a strongly worded, expletive-laden Instagram post. Gadsby’s two Netflix specials earned five Emmy nominations, including an Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special win for Nanette.
“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,” she wrote. “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 word 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 sh*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.”
The “algorithm cult” comment refers to the notion that key functions at Netflix are based — at least partially — on algorithms, from viewing suggestions to renewal decisions.
In his Wednesday memo to staff, Sarandos listed Gadsby alongside Chappelle. “We are working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story,” he wrote. “So 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, whose remarks have been faced with criticism, also argued that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world hard.”