Trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston is organizing a rally in Hollywood to support the planned Oct. 20 walkout by Netflix employees protesting the transphobic commentary in Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, “The Closer.” During the event, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos will be presented with an unspecified “list of firm asks” related to the issue.
The rally, called “‘Stand Up’ in Solidarity,” is planned for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., outside of Netflix’s Hollywood headquarters on Sunset blvd.
“We shouldn’t have to show up quarterly/annually to push back against harmful content that negatively impacts vulnerable communities,” Preston wrote in a post on Instagram. “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.”
According to Deadline, organizers will also present a public service announcement delivered by celebrities who have worked with Netflix. According to Variety, the group includes Jamil, Van Ness, Haynes, Ross, O’Hara, Sara Ramirez, TS Madison, Our Lady J, Alexandra Billings and Joey Soloway and others.
The post also directs readers to the Facebook event page for the walkout, where Team Trans* shirts are available for purchase. “All proceeds will go to @translifeline 🫂Learn more about their life saving work at https://translifeline.org 🤳🏾” the post said.
Chappelle’s “The Closer,” which launched on Oct. 5, has been hotly criticized for transphobic jokes about the the trans community, particularly about transwomen.
Sarandos has so far defended Netflix’s decision to stream the special and in a memo to employees last week said Netflix will not take down the special.
“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,” he wrote.
Also in the memo, Sarandos said that “artistic freedom” is different for stand-up comedy than it is for other forms of expression.
So far, Sarandos has not commented pubicly on the walkout.