Netflix has fired a leader of the trans employee resource group who was organizing the upcoming October 20th walkout. The employee, who is Black and currently pregnant, asked not to be named for fear of online harassment. They have been encouraging trans employees and allies to walk out of work in protest of Netflix’s handling of the Dave Chappelle special The Closer. The employee declined to speak to The Verge for this story.
“All these white people are going around talking to the press and speaking publicly on Twitter and the only person who gets fired is the Black person who was quiet the entire time,” says a former employee in an interview with The Verge. “That’s absurd, and just further shows that Black trans people are the ones being targeted in this conversation.”
The employee was terminated on suspicion of leaking metrics to the press related to the Dave Chappelle special. Those metrics — about how much Netflix paid for The Closer and how many people it reached — subsequently ended up in a report on Bloomberg. While the employee had shared the metrics internally, they spoke out against the leaks to colleagues, worried they might hurt the walkout movement.
The leaking of internal data is highly unusual at Netflix. While the company prides itself on transparency, employees are told that the culture can only thrive when Netflix data remains internal.
A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the employees’ dismissal. “We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” they said. “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.”
Controversy surrounding The Closer, which was widely criticized by trans activists for being transphobic, has roiled Netflix in recent weeks. The company suspended Terra Field, a trans software engineer who posted a viral tweet thread about the controversy, for attending a director-level meeting to which she wasn’t invited. Field has since been reinstated. The company is now sending employees details about what meetings they’re allowed to attend.