Netflix employees staged a walkout on Wednesday in protest of Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer” in which the comedian made jokes that have been seen as transphobic and harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.

The walkout was organized by LGBTQ+ and trans employees following weeks of backlash over Chappelle’s comedy special.

Staffers are hoping the protest will push Netflix to develop a fund to invest in trans and non-binary creators and use new standards to address transphobic content.

Netflix acknowledged the walkout in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that’s been caused,” a spokesperson for the streaming platform told the publication.

“We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content.”

The protest comes after Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos defended “The Closer” in emails to staff members. Sarandos told employees that the content wasn’t considered hate speech.

“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line,” Sarandos wrote in the memo that was later leaked. 

The CEO went on to claim that the “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” However, staffers were unhappy with the tone of his message. On Tuesday, Sarandos told Variety he realized he made a mistake.

“Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication. I did that, and I screwed it up in two ways. First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. 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 upfront before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything,” Sarandos explained.

“I didn’t do that. That was uncharacteristic for me, and it was moving fast, and we were trying to answer some really specific questions that were floating. We landed with some things that were much more blanket and matter-of-fact that are not at all accurate.”

Participants of the walkout are expected to present Sarandos with a list of “firm asks/demands” in support of the trans community during the rally.

The Netflix logo sign is seen on top ot its office building on February 4, 2021 in Hollywood, California The Netflix logo sign is seen on top ot its office building on February 4, 2021 in Hollywood, California Photo: AFP / VALERIE MACON