Netflix is taking a hard-line stance against woke employees who advocate for silencing artists whose content offends them.
The news comes after Netflix disclosed a dismal business performance in the first quarter of 2022. The company, in fact, lost 200,000 subscribers between January and March, the first subscriber decline in more than a decade. The company had expected a net gain of 2.5 million subscribers over that time period.
What are the details?
The streaming platform updated its famous corporate culture memo to include a section on “Artistic Expression,” Variety reported. The memo vows Netflix will not cancel artists even if Netflix employees find the content objectionable or “harmful.”
“Not everyone will like — or agree with — everything on our service,” the memo reads. “While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”
The memo adds that if employees cannot support Netflix’s work, they should hit the road and find another job.
“As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful,” the memo states.
“If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you,” the memo advises.
Why the change?
According to Variety, the “artistic expression” update is related to controversy involving comedian Dave Chappelle.
After Chappelle’s newest comedy special “The Closer” debuted on Netflix last October, controversy erupted when critics falsely accused Chappelle of being transphobic and homophobic. Netflix employees rebuked their bosses for streaming the comedy special, and they even staged a walkout to demonstrate their anger with the alleged harmful content.
However, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos refused to cave to the angry mob.
In multiple employee memos, Sarandos made it clear that Netflix leadership stood by the diversity of its content, including comedy specials that may include what some people describe as “harmful.”
“Stand-up comedians often expose issues that are uncomfortable because the art by nature is a highly provocative,” one of the memos said. “As a leadership team, we do not believe that The Closer is intended to incite hatred or violence against anyone (per our Sensitive Content guidelines).”