Three senior marketing executives at Netflix have been fired for engaging in “mean office gossip” about their colleagues on Slack, a person with knowledge of the terminations told TheWrap. That number represents approximately half of Netflix’s staff at that level in the marketing division.
Netflix denies that CMO (chief marketing officer) Bozoma Saint John (pictured above) and vice president of marketing for original films, Jonathan Helfgot, were among those criticized in the Slack communications in question, as reported by THR. Helfgot, the immediate boss of the terminated executives, was the one who fired them, we’ve confirmed.
“The depiction of the Slack messages in question being critical of marketing leadership is untrue,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.
Netflix feels the Slack messages violated the company’s transparency culture. The fired executives were under the impression their messages were private, but the complaints were eventually uncovered and reported by an uninvolved party.
The individual we spoke with said the messages were found through an innocent Slack search. The conversation among the senior marketing executives was not locked, so it showed up in the search results and was accessible to uninvolved parties.
Slack is a popular communication platform for businesses that allows for both group chatting and direct messages between individuals. A padlock icon appears when a conversation is locked. There was no padlock on this particular conversation.
Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer at Netflix, commented on the matter on LinkedIn, writing, “What happened here was unfortunately not simply venting on Slack or a single conversation. These were critical, personal comments made over several months about their peers … including during meetings when those peers were talking or presenting. This is entirely inconsistent with those values, which is why their manager fired them. It’s also worth noting that we don’t proactively monitor Slack or email. The Slack channel was open so anyone could access the conversations even though the employees concerned thought it was private.”
Last summer, Saint John exited Endeavor to replace Jackie Lee-Joe as Netflix CMO. At the time, a Netflix insider told TheWrap that Lee-Joe left the job after less than one year for “personal reasons.”
As TheWrap exclusively reported, Saint John was offered a roughly $7 million payday to work for the streamer. That package was “dramatically more” than what she was earning at Endeavor, a personal familiar with her deal told TheWrap.
Prior to her Endeavor tenure, Saint John held top marketing roles at Uber, Apple Music and Pepsi-Cola North America. The highly sought after marketing executive has been vocal in the past about knowing your worth, especially as a Black woman, and demanding equal pay.