Ted Sarandos has agreed that his messed up the internal communications with staff who have a problem with Dave Chappelle’s controversial special, The Closer.
Recall that people condemned the special as transphobic, with Netflix staff threatening a walkout on October 20. Now, speaking with Deadline, Sarandos said he “screwed up the internal communication.”
“First, right upfront, I screwed up the internal communication — and I don’t mean just mechanically,” Sarandos told Deadline. “I feel I should’ve made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should’ve recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through. I say that because I respect them deeply, and I love the contribution they have at Netflix. They were hurting, and I should’ve recognized that first.”
He had sent out two internal messages to the company in which he defended Chappelle and The Closer. “While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,” he wrote in an email to employees. “As a leadership team, we do not believe that The Closer is intended to incite hatred or violence against anyone (per our Sensitive Content guidelines).”
Now, he has said, in his chat with Deadline, that his words “landed like a big blanket statement.”
He added, “And the big blanket statement should’ve been, of course storytelling has an impact on the real world — sometimes positive and sometimes negative. That is why I work here, that content actually can make the world a better place through our storytelling, through onscreen representation and all those things. So it was a gross simplification.”
Meanwhile, he has told The Hollywood Reporter that his “stance” about The Closer “hasn’t changed.”