Do you have any regrets about how this process was handled, especially in your internal communication with employees?
Ted Sarandos: Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication. I did that, and I screwed it up in two ways. First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn’t do that. That was uncharacteristic for me, and it was moving fast and we were trying to answer some really specific questions that were floating. We landed with some things that were much more blanket and matter-of-fact that are not at all accurate.
Of course storytelling has real impact in the real world. I reiterate that because it’s why I work here, it’s why we do what we do. That impact can be hugely positive, and it can be quite negative. So, I would have been better in that communication. They were joining a conversation already in progress, but out of context. But that happens, internal emails go out. In all my communications I should lean into the humanity up front and not make a blanket statement that could land very differently than it was intended.
Man, I do not get this. At all. Publishing and media executives do this crap too. Do they have any idea what kind of business they are in? Chappelle’s great sin, in the eyes of these crybullies, was that he said trans women aren’t women because they do not have the biology of women. I believe that. A lot of people believe that. Maybe Chappelle is wrong about that. But if this now unsayable, even by a comedian (who makes fun of everybody), this is madness. Sarandos ought to tell those protesters if they cannot handle working for a giant media company that distributes a comedy show in which a standup says only biological women are women, then they should find another line of work. This is cringe.
So the special will remain on the service?
I don’t believe there have been many calls to remove it.
That’s not a “no,” is it? And it’s a not-no that leaves open the possibility that there will one day be so “many calls” that Netflix decided to take it down.
Look at this, and try to make sense of what Sarandos is saying:
Is there anything more specifically actionable from the list of requests — like a call for a new trans and nonbinary talent fund be created?
We have a creative equity fund that we’ve heavily invested in exactly the things I believe they are asking about. We have and continue to invest enormous amounts of content dollars in LGBTQ+ stories for the world and giving them a global platform. Specifically, trans and non-binary content as well. That’s obviously continued strong, and I think we’ll continue on that path. What’s important to remember is that we’ve got incredible growth in our employee base, and a lot of people have joined during COVID and have never met anyone from Netflix. It’s very tough to understand company history, knowing where we’re at, what we do, and what kind of folks we are. We’ve got to take this opportunity to make sure that they know we are with them and creating this content to spread around the world and creating a great workplace for diverse and marginalized populations. We’re firmly committed to it.
Translation: “We’re going to throw money at making more trans and non-binary shows, so please, I beg you, leave us alone!”
When do you think Netflix will actually pull the special? I bet they’re waiting to see what the response to tomorrow’s walkout is. Remember, even though probably 95 percent of America doesn’t care if a comedian says “only women are women” on his Netflix special, the five percent who do are concentrated in the circles in which Netflix executives move.
Soft totalitarianism is about to claim another scalp…
The woke employees' feelings exception to free speech. Unfalsifiable veto. https://t.co/qiXDrQRHev
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 20, 2021