KEY POINTS

  • Netflix suspended three employees for crashing a meeting of its top executives, a report says
  • One of the employees was an out trans person who criticized Dave Chappelle's new special, according to the report
  • Netflix defended Chappelle's "The Closer" amid the backlash

Netflix said the recent suspensions of three of its employees, including an out trans person who criticized Dave Chappelle's "The Closer," were not related to public criticisms of the new stand-up special.

A spokesperson for the streaming giant told Entertainment Weekly that the employees were suspended late last week for attending an executive meeting without proper clearance.

"It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so," the rep said in the statement obtained by EW and Variety.

Sources told Variety that Netflix is investigating the employees' unauthorized attendance at the "QBR" or quarterly business review, a two-day affair that convenes the top 500 employees at the company.

One of the three employees suspended was Terra Field, a senior software engineer based in San Francisco who identifies as queer and trans, according to the outlet's sources.

After the release of "The Closer" on Oct. 5, Field was one of many voices who criticized Chappelle's remarks about transgender people. However, individuals familiar with Netflix said the company did not suspend Field over recent tweets decrying what she called anti-trans jokes in the special but for attending uninvited.

Last Wednesday, Field posted a series of tweets slamming "The Closer," in which the comedian accuses the trans community of having "thin skin."

"I work at @netflix. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You’re going to hear a lot of talk about 'offense.' We are not offended," she tweeted

Field continued, "Being trans is actually pretty funny, if you're someone who actually knows about the subject matter. How could volunteering for a second puberty *not* be funny? That isn't what he is doing though. Our existence is 'funny' to him - and when we object to his harm, we're 'offended.'"

In the special, Chapelle said he is "team TERF," referencing the term for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist." He also talked about the backlash he received after making jokes about Caitlyn Jenner and other trans people in previous specials and criticized cancel culture around author J.K. Rowling.

"Gender is a fact," the comedian said. "Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact."

According to Field, they object to the "harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women."

The Netflix employee also stated that "promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people."

Meanwhile, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle's stand-up special amid the backlash.

"Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him. His last special 'Sticks & Stones,' also controversial, is our most-watched, stickiest and most award-winning stand-up special to date," Sarandos said in a memo to staff members obtained by Variety.

The exec continued, "As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful."

Squid Game" has topped Netflix popularity charts in more than 80 countries since its launch last month and is on track to become its most-watched series ever "Squid Game" has topped Netflix popularity charts in more than 80 countries since its launch last month and is on track to become its most-watched series ever Photo: AFP / Olivier DOULIERY