According to a new report, the gloomy employee morale at Netflix is only growing worse, and the company’s Silicon Valley tech staff members are becoming more and more disenchanted with management, particularly in the wake of the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s last comedy special The Closer, which just scored two Emmy nominations, despite the outrage from transgender supporters.
According to a recent article from the Verge, tech workers at Netflix’s corporate headquarters in Los Gatos, California, have accused executives of ignoring their growing concerns about the organization, claiming the culture of open internal discourse has been replaced with something more rigid and traditionally corporate. “After Dave Chappelle, the lines of communication that had been open for years were gone,” says an anonymous, former engineer.
The ire over Dave Chappelle’s The Closer, which Netflix had bought for $24.1 million, left some employees feeling the comedian had gone too far joking about the trans community, but Netflix’s executives disagreed. In fact, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer and co-CEO, sent an email to directors and executives saying The Closer wasn’t getting pulled. The comedian’s prior special, Sticks and Stones, became the company’s most-watched stand-up set to date, but those numbers did little to reassure those who were triggered over any jokes that involved transgenders.
It’s not my place to accept or refuse your apology, but as an ally, I will say: please, consider in the future that almost any joke you could make about trans people can potentially hurt actual trans people in this current climate.
— ☕️ Chelsea 👓 (@panelsandprose) June 16, 2022
Afterwards, Netflix updated their culture deck in a memo highlighting the section on artistic freedom. “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.” While workshopping the memo, executives sent around a draft for feedback that included the line “As employees, we must be prepared to defend a broad range of stories and storytellers, even if we find individual titles offensive or counter to our personal values. Depending on our roles, we may also need to work on titles we wish weren’t on Netflix, or wouldn’t choose to watch.”
David Ng over at Breitbart summed up the challenges facing the streaming giant that go beyond unhappy employees:
Netflix engineers feel the company has developed a schizoid personality — on one side is the Hollywood studio with its more traditional corporate culture; on the other is the Silicon Valley tech firm with its more relaxed atmosphere and culture of honest internal discourse. […]
Netflix’s morale crisis comes as the left-wing streamer is struggling to retain subscribers. The company lost an unprecedented 200,000 customers in the first quarter and predicted losing as many as 2 million in the months ahead.
Shares of Netflix have tumbled an astonishing 70 percent so far this year. The company has imposed new austerity measures, including layoffs that have seen 450 workers lose their jobs.
Perhaps Sarandos has thrown the woke staffers a bone by not making as big a fuss over Chappelle’s latest special, What’s In a Name?, which was quietly released on the platform a few days ago.