Dave Chappelle’s third special for Netflix, The Closer, hit the service Tuesday and, like the two before it, lays bare the comedian’s transphobia and homophobia under the guise of punchlines. In the special, Chappelle announces himself to be “Team Terf,” comments about trans women’s genitals, and sides with DaBaby disparaging people living with HIV. Unsurprisingly, there’s mounting condemnation and pressure to remove the special, which perpetuates harmful stereotypes.
Among those speaking out about the special is Jaclyn Moore, a writer, executive producer, and showrunner on the Netflix series Dear White People, who has announced that she’s cutting ties with the streaming service on Twitter. “I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art... But I’ve been thrown against walls because ‘I’m not a ‘real’ woman.’ I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done,” she wrote. “I will not work with them as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”
“Those words have real-world consequences. Consequences that every trans woman I know has dealt with. Bruises and panicked phone calls to friends. That’s real,” she continued.
“So when he says people should be mad a trans woman won a ‘Woman of the Year’ award… When he misgenders… When he says he should’ve told that mother her daughter WAS A DUDE… I just can’t… I can’t be a part of a company that thinks that’s worth putting out and celebrating.”
Moore is far from the only person speaking out against Chappelle’s comments and Netflix’s decision to platform it. GLAAD released a statement condemning the program as well.
“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” the organization said in a statement. “Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”
The National Black Justice Coalition also released a statement saying that Netflix “should know better” and calling for the removal of The Closer. “With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States – the majority of whom are Black transgender people – Netflix should know better,” NBJC executive director David Johns said.
“Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”
It’s not just outside parties who are taking issue with Chappelle. An employee of the streaming service also publicly condemned the comedy special. In a thread on Twitter, a trans engineer who works for Netflix laid out why exactly its choice to release the special is so harmful, and why “offended” isn’t the right word for promoting the kind of ideology and speech that results in real-world consequences — frequently death — for trans people.
As of this writing, Netflix had not commented on the backlash.