Hannah Gadsby Calls Out Netflix Over Its Defense of Dave Chappelle


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In a rare public rebuke, the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby upbraided the Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos for his defense of Dave Chappelle in an Instagram post on Friday.

Ms. Gadsby, whose 2017 Netflix special, “Nanette,” earned her an Emmy and a Peabody Award, is the most prominent star to criticize Mr. Sarandos and Netflix, which she referred to in her post as an “amoral algorithm cult.”

The tech giant has been the subject of public scrutiny and outrage among some employees this week over Mr. Chappelle’s latest special, “The Closer.” Critics have called it transphobic and accused Netflix of facilitating hate speech. A group of Netflix workers has planned a walkout for next week in protest.

Mr. Sarandos and Netflix’s other chief executive, Reed Hastings, have been unwavering in their support of Mr. Chappelle, who signed a lucrative multiyear deal with the company in 2016. Mr. Sarandos told Netflix staff in a note this week that he had the “strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

He also said that Netflix would go to great lengths to “ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story,” and cited inclusive shows on the service like “Sex Education,” “Orange Is the New Black” as well as Ms. Gadsby’s specials, which include “Douglas,” her 2020 follow-up to “Nanette.”

In her social media post on Friday, Ms. Gadsby, who is a lesbian, took objection to the executive’s references to her in his defense of Netflix.

“Hey Ted Sarandos!” Ms. Gadsby wrote. “Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view.”

She continued: “You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted.”

Netflix declined to comment.


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