Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings has reaffirmed his support for comedian Dave Chappelle, defending artists who “cross the line every now and then.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Ted Sarandos, who joined Netflix as a co-CEO in 2020, discussed the issue of Dave Chappelle’s transphobic remarks in a 2021 comedy show.
Protests erupted after viewers denounced the episode for its anti-trans material. In a message to Netflix staff, Sarandos defended the show, claiming that the jokes didn’t cause “real-world harm” — though the co-CEO later conceded to Variety that his answer was “screwed up.”
Sarandos also expressed his support for Ricky Gervais’ controversial new special, which contains transphobic slurs, in this new interview.
“We’re programming for a lot of different individuals with various perspectives, preferences, and styles, but we’re not making everything for everyone,” he told the New York Times.
“We want something for everyone,” he explained, “but not everything will be for everyone.”
Sarandos discussed Chappelle’s status as a prominent comic in the United States and for the streaming service.
“No one could accuse him of not being attentive or intelligent,” he remarked. “You simply disagree with him,” says the narrator.
Netflix issued a business statement earlier this month committing not to censor specific artists, even if staff believe they are damaging.
“Netflix may not be the best location for you if you find it difficult to sustain our content breadth,” the memo said.
Netflix “made it obvious that the new order is ‘if you don’t like it, leave,” according to an ex-employee, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the New York Post, a man who assaulted Chapelle at a recent event did so because of the comedian’s comments about the LGBTQ community.
Chappelle’s quips were “triggering” for Isaiah Lee, who is bisexual.
Lee has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with the attack on May 3.