The end of the road for two activist employees with labor complaints against Netflix came Monday. An announcement was made that the labor complaints have been dropped. One of the employees has resigned.
This all has to do with an effort to cancel Dave Chappelle after his latest Netflix special, The Closer, began streaming on October 1. Much has been written about Chappelle, his brand of comedy, and cancel culture since the show’s release. Two Netflix employees filed labor complaints against the company with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). B. Pagels-Minor, a black non-binary program manager organized a walkout. Terra Field, a trans software engineer, was suspended, then brought back after posting a Twitter thread on the controversy. Allegedly, Pagels-Minor leaked confidential information and was fired. Field was suspended for crashing a company meeting she was not invited to attend.
Monday Field tweeted that she resigned from Netflix. “I resigned from Netflix yesterday, you can read my resignation letter below. I’m not happy that this is how things turned out, but I do think this outcome is the best for all parties involved.” She posted a copy of her letter of resignation online.
In the post, Field said the decision comes after the firing of B. Pagels-Minor, the former Netflix staffer who was let go in October for allegedly leaking confidential information on the Chappelle special. (Pagels-Minor has denied leaking sensitive information.)
“Shortly after B. was fired for something I did not and do not believe they did, I made a decision: sink or swim, I was going to walk side by side with B. as they had for so many of us while they led the Trans* ERG,” Field said, referencing Netflix’s trans employee resource group. Now that Pagels-Minor, who was also pregnant at the time of firing, has had their son, “that is the note that I’d like this chapter of my life to end on. I want to focus on the joy, not the heartache,” said Field, with plans to rest and recover. Field also thanked her team at Netflix for their support and for the Trans*ERG group being like “family.”
The outcome isn’t the desired one because instead of canceling Chappelle, the two employees ended up losing their jobs. Out of 10,000 employees, these two are the only ones who filed labor complaints. If they felt so strongly, why was either still working for Netflix? Netflix is a business. There was no way that they would stop streaming Chappelle’s special, which brings in strong enough revenue that Netflix continues to work with him. Audiences appreciate his take-no-prisoners approach to comedy and how he goes after everyone equally. Protesters to the employee walkout delivered a message – “Jokes are funny!”
Can everyone just move on now? Netflix hopes so.
“We have resolved our differences in a way that acknowledges the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, enables everyone to move on,” a Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter following news of the resignation.
Chappelle has felt the blowback from those who bend to participating in cancel culture. His work has been canceled by film festivals. Just last week, I wrote about his high school alma mater canceling the renaming of the school’s theatre in his honor, postponing it until the spring when the kerfuffle has blown over. Chappelle has delivered millions of dollars to that school, by the way, through the years in personal donations and through fundraising. What a cowardly slap in the face to him now.
Cancel culture is out of control. Chappelle did what he was paid to do – he performed in his usual way. Viewers tuning in know what to expect. His specials are entertaining, he’s a funny guy, in my opinion. He doesn’t deserve to be accused of being transphobic just because a few people were offended.