Chappelle’s special show “The Closer” debuted on Netflix last week and contained a few minutes of jokes about transgender people. The comedian said in the special program that he was a “TERF team”, citing the term “transgender radical feminist”.
“Gender is a fact,” Chappelle said. “Everyone in this room, everyone on the earth, must cross a woman’s legs to come to earth. This is a fact.”
He talked about the backlash he received after joking about Caitlin Jenner and other transgender people in the previous special, criticizing the cancellation culture surrounding writer JK Rowling, and mentioned his friendship with Daphne Doman, Daphne Doman is a transgender woman and comedian who opens for him in one of his holy places. Francisco shows. Dorman committed suicide in 2019, and Chappelle mentioned this in “The Closer”.
“Some of you also asked us how we define hatred. We don’t allow Netflix titles that incite hatred or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses this line. However, I admit that it’s hard to distinguish between comments. And hurt, especially stand-up comedy exists in order to push boundaries,” Sarandos wrote to the staff. “Some people think the art of stand-up comedy is mean, but our members love it. It’s an important part of the content we provide.”
CNN has not independently verified the email.
According to people familiar with the matter, Netflix has suspended three employees because they attended a virtual meeting of directors and vice presidents last week without notifying the meeting organizer in advance.
One of the employees suspended was Terra Field. Field is a self-proclaimed queer and transgender senior software engineer who publicly criticized “The Closer” on Twitter last week. According to sources, her suspension was due to her attending the meeting, not her tweet.
When asked about the suspension, a Netflix spokesperson told CNN: “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employee’s tweets about the show. We encourage employees to object openly, and we support their right to do so.”
Field said on Twitter last week that Chapel’s special program mocked the existence of transgender people.
“Promoting the TERF ideology (which we did yesterday by giving it a platform) directly hurt transgender people, this is not some neutral behavior,” Field wrote. “This is not an argument between the two sides. This is an argument with transgender people who want to live and people who don’t want us to live.”
Field ended her post with the names of 37 transgender and gender substandard people who were killed in 2021.
LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD also condemned the comments in “The Closer.”
“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with mocking transgender people and other marginalized communities,” GLAAD wrote on Twitter last week. “Negative comments and loudly condemned by the audience for his latest special program conveyed a message to the industry that the audience does not support platform-based anti-LGBTQ defamation. We agree.”
CNN has contacted Chappelle representatives.
In “The Closer”, Chappelle said that this special show will be his last comment on transgender people or issues.
Scottie Andrew and Lisa France of CNN contributed to this story.