Netflix Says Suspended Staffers Were Not Disciplined for Criticizing Dave Chappelle's 'The Closer' : Reports

Netflix claims three staffers attempted to attend an executive meeting uninvited as controversy swirls around Dave Chappelle's comments about transgender people in his latest special, The Closer

Netflix. Photo: Netflix

After facing backlash from the LGBTQ community for releasing Dave Chappelle's latest comedy special The Closer, Netflix has reportedly suspended three employees for attending a business meeting uninvited.

Terra Field, a senior software engineer based in San Francisco, and two others attempted to attend the streaming giant's quarterly business review meeting, which is generally reserved for the top 500 employees at the company, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and The Los Angeles Times.

Field identifies as queer and transgender. She was one of multiple transgender Netflix employees who publicly condemned the company's decision to release The Closer, in which Chappelle makes a series of controversial jokes about the LGBTQ community.

In a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday, Field wrote: "Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness - all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You're going to hear a lot of talk about 'offense.' We are not offended."

"What we object to is the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women," she added in another tweet.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Netflix denied that Field was suspended for speaking out against the comedy special, multiple outlets report.

"It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show," a spokesperson told the LA Times. "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."

A representative for Netflix did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Field was also not immediately available to provide a statement on the matter.

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In a memo sent out on Friday and obtained by THR and Variety, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos reportedly told senior staff members that "some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do."

"Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him," he continued, per Variety. "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."

Lester Cohen/WireImage.

Sarandos added that Netflix doesn't allow titles "that are designed to incite hate or violence," but that the company's executives "don't believe The Closer crosses that line," according to THR.

In a public statement on Monday following the employees' suspension, GLAAD wrote on Twitter: "Netflix has a policy that content 'designed to incite hate or violence' is not allowed on the platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that. While Netflix is home to groundbreaking LGBTQ stories, now is the time for Netflix execs to listen to LGBTQ employees, industry leaders, and audiences and commit to living up to their own standards."

In The Closer, which premiered last week, Chappelle made multiple jokes about the LGBTQ+ and trans community and sounded off about past controversies he has sparked on the topic. His comments drew sharp criticism from many viewers.

After viewing the special, actress and director Taylor Ashbrook tweeted, "As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle's specials because I think they're hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious."

"The Closer changed my mind on that," Ashbrook added. "That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I'm really disappointed."

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