Streaming giant Netflix reinstated three employees on Tuesday that had been suspended late last week for allegedly trying to force their way into a high-level business meeting, alleging that Dave Chappelle was “transphobic.”
A company spokesperson confirmed to Deadline that Netflix engineer Terra Field, as well as the two other employees that were suspended, were reinstated to their posts on Tuesday.
The employees were assured that their suspension was not in regards to criticisms posted to their personal social media accounts about the company’s Dave Chappelle special, but rather regarding their unauthorized attendance at the Quarterly Business Review meeting.
The spokesperson said that Netflix “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people” following the incident.
On Monday, a Netflix spokesperson discredited claims that these activist employees were suspended due to criticizing Chappelle, and Netflix, in social media posts, saying that “It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show. Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so.”
Field posted the notice of her reinstatement to Twitter, saying that “Netflix has reinstated me after finding that there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting.”
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting. Additionally when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting that you could attend,” the statement from Netflix to Field reads.
The exclusive meeting featured Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and the company’s top 500 employees, with Sarandos later briefing the company about backlash from Chappelle’s controversial special The Closer in a memo.
“Chapelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him,” Sarandos wrote in a memo obtained by Variety.
“His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date.”
“As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful,” Sarandos added.
“Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” Sarandos continued.
“I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Field had criticized Chappelle’s special, and its place on Netflix, in a thread of tweets, saying that the special attacks the trans community.
“Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act. This is not an argument with two sides. It is an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don’t want us to be,” Field said in a Twitter thread.
“This all gets brushed off as offense though – because if we’re just “too sensitive” then it is easy to ignore us.”