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Dave Chappelle

Source: Lester Cohen / Courtesy of Netflix

The furor over the latest comedy special from Dave Chappelle has induced Netflix to defend the comedian, even as it has suspended a few of its transgendered employees who protested the special.

In an internal memo to employees after a quarterly meeting which was obtained by Variety, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the controversy, stating that “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 continued: “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries.” Sarandos did say that the company would not be pulling the special off the platform despite the objections of groups including the National Black Justice Committee and GLAAD.”Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering”, he concluded.

This comes on the heels of news that Netflix has suspended three employees for crashing a virtual meeting of board members & other executives without warning the meeting organizer last week. One of those employees who is trans, senior software engineer Terra Field, had loudly protested Chappelle’s routine via a series of tweets pointing out how harmful his comments were to trans people.

A source confirmed that Field was suspended mainly for violating the meeting protocol and not her tweets.

“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,” a spokesperson for Netflix said in a statement to press as news of the suspensions was released on Monday (October 11).