Netflix Communications Chief Jonathan Friedland Let Go Following 'Insensitive Comments'

Netflix announced the firing of Communications Chief Jonathan Friedland after he made "insensitive" comments.

The executive, who has served as the streaming giant's top spokesperson for the past six years, reportedly made insensitive remarks to his team.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, who first reported on the story, the former Disney executive first joined Netflix in February 2011 as the vice president of global corporate communications, and was promoted to the top role the following year.

A replacement for Friedland has yet to be named.

"I'm leaving Netflix after seven years," Friedland said in a statement to THR. "Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy. 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 this collective adventure in building the world's leading entertainment service."

At Netflix, Friedland was in charge of media and content publicity for the streamer's original series, films and specials in 190 countries.

Before this position, Friedland served as the senior vice president of corporate communications at The Walt Disney Company, and was also previously a foreign correspondent and editor for the Wall Street Journal and Far Eastern Economic Review.

The news comes as the streaming giant, led by CEO Reed Hastings, ended the first quarter of 2018 with 125 million subscribers worldwide, with expectations to 6.2 million in the second quarter. Last week, the company's shares closed 3 percent higher to a new record of $404.98.

The platform has been pushing into international territories and expanding its roster of originals to include more unscripted series, given the success of shows like Queer Eye and Nailed It!

Friedland also released his statement on Twitter following reports of his firing.


Nailed It! was one of Netflix's biggest hits of early 2018. Together with Queer Eye, E! News writes, the shows have encouraged the streaming service to tackle more unscripted programming.

"These series are indicative of what we're trying to accomplish for Netflix unscripted: working with world-class producers to create the best unscripted shows on television," Bela Bajaria, Vice President of Content for Netflix, said in a statement announcing the season two renewals of Queer Eye and Nailed It! "These series elevate the genre with innovative takes on familiar formats. They deliver immersive and nuanced stories. They elicit so many emotions from viewers, from tears of laughter to tears of joy — and that's just Queer Eye."