Netflix has fired an employee for leaking confidential information to Bloomberg detailing the cost of the controversial Dave Chappelle special “The Closer.” The leak was in violation of Netflix’s company policies, leading to the termination of the unidentified staff member.
“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a Netflix representative confirmed to IndieWire in a statement. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”
Netflix spent $24.1 million on the special, which was not previously publicly known before the October 13 Bloomberg article, and was not meant to be disclosed.
In the article, the cost of “The Closer” was compared to that of Chappelle’s previous Netflix special, “Sticks and Stones” ($23.6 million), as well as to Bo Burnham’s “Inside” ($3.9 million) and the massively popular “Squid Game” ($21.4 million).
The special has remained in the Netflix top 10 since it was released on October 5.
Earlier this week, Netflix’s co-chief executive officer and chief content officer Ted Sarandos has continued to defend the company’s decision to release the special on the platform. Chappelle has come under fire since the special’s release for making homophobic and anti-trans jokes. Organizations such as GLAAD and The National Black Justice Coalition condemned “The Closer” and urged Netflix to pull the special from its platform.
After an initial October 8 memo send to leadership brass, on Monday Sarandos sent out an all-staff memo (obtained by Variety) and the backlash was swift. A group of trans employees and allies is planning a staff walkout on Wednesday, October 20 in protest of Sarandos’ comments.
“We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix,” Sarandos wrote in the email obtained by Variety. “With ‘The Closer,’ we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.) Last year, we heard similar concerns about ‘365 Days’ and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” More on that here.