Dave Chapelle says he’s willing to meet with Netflix employees



Dave Chappelle said he’s willing to sit down with Netflix employees who organized a company walkout earlier this week in protest of controversial jokes he made in his comedy special, “The Closer.”

In the show, released earlier this month, the irreverent funnyman declared “gender is a fact” and identified himself as a “TERF,” or “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” sparking immediate backlash, including from Netflix employees who walked off the job on Wednesday.

Chappelle would be open to a dialogue if Netflix employees reach out to him for a heart-to-heart discussion, his representative told TMZ.

But no one from Netflix or the employee group that led the staff walkout has contacted Chappelle or his team about setting up a meeting, the comedian’s camp reportedly said, disputing what the transgender woman who organized the walkout claims.

Ashlee Marie Preston said Wednesday that she invited Chapelle to join protesters at Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters.

Ashlee Marie Preston speaks to media during a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout ?Stand Up in Solidarity? to protest the streaming of comedian Dave Chappelle?s new comedy special
Dave Chappelle’s camp denies they were invited by Ashlee Marie Preston (seen above) to join protesters at Netflix’s LA office.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

“I invited Dave Chapelle to have a transformative dialogue about the harm that was committed,” she told reporters. “He chose not to show up.”

Chapelle’s camp said they’re not sure why Marie Preston made those claims. She did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.

The show, Chapelle’s sixth and final big-bucks deal with Netflix, was quickly blasted as “transphobic” by critics.

In a statement issued Wednesday amid the walkout, Netflix sought to strike a conciliatory tone. 

Dave Chappelle
The special remains in Netflix’s top 10 most popular shows.
Mathieu Bitton/Netflix

“We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that’s been caused,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

Earlier this month, Netflix suspended a trans senior software engineer, Terra Field, who slammed Chappelle for his humor about trans people in a viral Twitter thread.

The company later said Field was suspended not for the tweets but instead for barging in on an executives-only meeting, along with two others.

Field has since been reinstated “after finding there was no ill-intent” in her attendance, she posted.

People attend a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout "Stand Up in Solidarity" to protest the streaming of comedian Dave Chappelle's new comedy special,
People attend a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout “Stand Up in Solidarity” to protest the streaming of Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has stuck by the company’s decision to host the show, but admitted earlier this week that he “screwed up” in the way he communicated the decision to company staff.

In emails to Netflix staff earlier this month amid the backlash, Sarandos, who’s also the company’s chief content officer, said the company would not take down the show.

“What I should have led with in those emails was humanity,” Sarandos told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “I should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees was really hurting.”

A billboard for the Dave Chappelle Netflix special "The Closer" is seen in Hollywood, California
The special is Chapelle’s sixth and final big-bucks deal with Netflix.
ROBYN BECK//AFP via Getty Images

“We have articulated to our employees that there are going to be things you don’t like,” Sarandos said.

“There are going to be things that you might feel are harmful. But we are trying to entertain a world with varying tastes and varying sensibilities and various beliefs, and I think this special was consistent with that,” he added.

Standup comedy is “designed to stir up emotions,” he said, adding that “sometimes inclusion and artistic expression bump into each other.”

Despite the controversy, “The Closer” is currently in the top 10 most popular Netflix shows in the US, and it was as high as No. 3 earlier this week.

Part of the comedy special featured Chapelle’s recounting of his friendship with late trans comedian Daphne Dorman, whose family described Chapelle as an “LGBTQ ally.”

Netflix representatives did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment on Chapelle’s offer of a sit-down.


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