Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has fired his chief public relations executive, Jonathan Friedland, after his repeated use of the n-word, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Friedland, who’s been with the company for seven years, reportedly used the racial slur in a meeting with employees, leading some to report the incident to upper management. Then, in a follow-up meeting with Netflix’s human resources department regarding his use of the n-word, Friedland reportedly used the word again.
“The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now,” reads an email Hastings sent to employees that was obtained by THR. “As I reflect on this, at this first incident, I should have done more to use it as a learning moment for everyone at Netflix about how painful and ugly that word is, and that it should not be used. I realize that my privilege has made me intellectualize or otherwise minimize race issues like this. I need to set a better example by learning and listening more so I can be the leader we need.”
We still don’t know the full context of Friedland’s initial use of the slur, though he says in a series of tweets that he was having a discussion he with his team “about words that offend in comedy.” Friedland’s tweets go on to say that he feels “awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated.” When contacted by The Verge, Netflix would not confirm Friedland’s use of the slur, and a spokesperson instead pointed to Friedland’s Twitter account for his full statement. THR has the full Hastings email here.
I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated. I feel honored to have built a brilliant and diverse global team and to have been part of our collective adventure.— jonathan friedland (@jsf33) June 22, 2018