In a rare win for free speech in the current online climate, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said that the Dave Chappelle special released last week will not be canceled because of “artistic freedom.”
Last week, Netflix released Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer.” The streaming service and the comedian were immediately slammed by a bunch of Twitter users because of the alleged transphobic remarks Chappelle made in the special.
A “civil rights” group criticized the comedian and urged Netflix to remove the show.
In an internal memo obtained by Variety, Sandaros said the show would not be canceled.
“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most-watched, stickiest and most award-winning stand-up special to date,” Sarandos wrote.
“As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful,” the CEO continued.
“Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. 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,” Sandaros added.
“Particularly in stand-up comedy, artistic freedom is obviously a very different standard of speech than we allow internally as the goals are different: entertaining people versus maintaining a respectful, productive workplace.”