Netflix CEO Says He'll Make Dave Chappelle Specials 'Til the End of Time
In a shocking announcement, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company has publicly declared that he would like to continue printing money indefinitely.
Yesterday, at the New York Times DealBook Summit, a convention that hosts speeches from the world’s most prominent and powerful business and political leaders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings reaffirmed his company’s commitment to providing a platform for controversial and immensely successful comedian Dave Chappelle despite the interior backlash to Chappelle’s most recent comedy special, The Closer, which led to highly publicized walkouts among Netflix staff.
Said Hastings of The Closer, “That special was one of the most entertaining watch specials we’ve ever had. We would do it again and again,” shortly before lighting a cigar with a flaming $100 bill.
Hastings’ commitment to Chappelle despite the complaints of Netflix staffers over the views expressed in his recent specials regarding the transgender community is completely unsurprising considering the massive investment that the streaming giant has already made in being the sole provider of Chappelle content – Netflix bought The Closer at a whopping $24 million price tag.
The release of The Closer was mired in controversy when a group of Netflix employees, many of whom are transgender, staged a walkout and multiple protests over remarks made by Chappelle in the special which they found to be transphobic and bigoted, including Chappelle’s defense of Harry Potter author and anti-trans tweeter J.K. Rowling. The protests resulted in the suspension of three trans workers who crashed a Netflix leadership meeting to voice their complaints and the firing of one of the protest’s organizers whom Netflix accused of “sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company.”
In the end, the employee backlash to The Closer failed to budge Netflix decision makers, including Hastings, on their support and platforming of Chappelle. However, the media coverage of the protests and the criticism Chappelle received from both the transgender community and transgender advocates gave the comedian all the ammo he needed to declare himself the world’s most oppressed comedy genius.
When Chappelle’s alma mater, the prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts, announced plans to dedicate a theater to the comedian, Netflix sent a documentary crew with Chappelle as he returned to his roots to speak to young artists. At a Q&A session that did not make the final cut of Dave Chappelle: What’s in a Name?, Chappelle was allegedly met with a mixed response from the teens, many of whom accused Chappelle of immaturity and bigotry.
Chappelle addressed these literal children who challenged his beliefs during his speech, in which he described the students who spoke out against him as “instruments of oppression,” and compared the criticism of The Closer to an incident when “A man who was dressed in women’s clothing threw a pie at the Mona Lisa and tried to deface it.” Chappelle declined the honor of putting his name on the theater, electing instead to title it “The Theatre for Artistic Freedom & Expression.”
After all of the protests, walkouts and criticism faced by Chappelle and Netflix, the comedian continues to be one of the most streamed, most talked about, and most influential artists on the planet – and Netflix continues to be the beneficiary of his massive following. Any backlash that Chappelle or Netflix face in reaction to the content of his specials is negligible when compared to the massive eight-figure sums that the company continues to find every new set to be worth.
The marriage of Netflix and Chappelle is as secure as any multi-million dollar relationship could be – that is, unless Chappelle joins his friend Kanye West on Alex Jones’ show and starts talking about how much he loves Hitler. But even Chappelle knows that’s a line not to be crossed.