Netflix has dismissed an employee for allegedly leaking confidential financial data as the streaming giant struggles to control an internal row over Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special.
Chappelle, a titan of US stand-up, was criticised by LGBT advocacy groups for jokes perceived to be transphobic in The Closer, which was released earlier this month.
The comic said he backed JK Rowling – another high-profile figure accused of making anti-trans comments – and said “gender is a fact”.
Dave Chappelle stirred significant controversy with his Netflix special The Closer (Mathieu Bitton/Netflix/PA)
Netflix employees are said to have reacted with fury to the episode and a walk-out of more than 1,000 staff members is reportedly planned for Wednesday.
The streamer has now confirmed it has sacked an employee for allegedly leaking internal data about The Closer.
It said in a statement: “We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company.
“We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”
The confidential data is said to have appeared in a Bloomberg News article that reported Netflix spent 24.1 million dollars (£17.5 million) on The Closer and 23.6 million dollars (£17.1 million) on Chappelle’s 2019 special, Sticks & Stones.
Dave Chappelle is a titan of US stand-up comedy and has previously attracted criticism for his comments on transgender people (Mathieu Bitton/Netflix/PA)
Netflix reportedly allows staff to view data on the condition they do not share it publicly.
The company’s co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, has backed Chappelle.
He refused calls to pull The Closer from the service and said in an internal memo it did not cross “the line on hate”.
Netflix talent has joined rank-and-file workers in criticising the company.
Jaclyn Moore, producer on the Netflix series Dear White People, said she would no longer work with the streamer “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content”.
And Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, whose 2018 special Nanette appeared on the platform, shared a strongly worded statement directed at Sarandos.
She wrote: “You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. F*** you and your amoral algorithm cult.”