How Netflix Might Amend Dave Chappelle's 'The Closer' Special

Netflix is reportedly considering adding a warning message to play before Dave Chappelle's controversial new standup special The Closer. The streaming giant is debating the move after Netflix employees organized a walkout on Wednesday to protest the special, which critics consider transphobic. If Netflix does add a disclaimer, it would be a departure from co-CEO Ted Sarandos' comments earlier this week, when he said he didn't believe one was necessary.

Netflix is "weighing" adding a disclaimer to The Closer, sources told TheWrap on Thursday. Some are concerned that this would lead to including disclaimers before every stand-up special, not just Chappelle's. This would not be the first time Netflix did this though, as they eventually added disclaimers for 13 Reasons Why, which was criticized for its depiction of teen suicide. Netflix has not commented.

On Wednesday, Netflix employees at the company's Los Angeles office and those working remotely staged walked outs. Outside the Los Angeles office, employees gathered with signs reading "Transphobia is not a Joke," "Team Trans" and "#NetflixWalkout." Some changed "Trans lives matter." B. Pagels-Minor, a former Netflix employee who is trans, read a list of demands, including adding disclaimers to content criticized as transphobic, reports The New York Times. Pagels-Minor was fired for allegedly sharing sensitive internal data with the press, although their lawyer denied the allegations.

Ahead of the protest, Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday he did not believe a disclaimer was necessary. "The content is age-restricted already for language, and Dave himself gives a very explicit warning at the beginning of the show, so I don't think it would be appropriate in this case," Sarandos said. Netflix also released a statement on the walkout, saying the company values "value our trans colleagues and allies and understand the deep hurt that's been caused" and they "respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content."

After The Closer was released on Oct. 5, Chappelle's jokes about the trans community and other LGBTQ+ people were seen as transphobic. "Gender is fact," the comedian said in the special. "Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth." Chappelle also voiced support for author J.K. Rowling, saying that he is "Team TERF," an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

Sarandos initially voiced complete support for Chappelle, but he later told Deadline on Tuesday he "screwed up" with his first internal memos to staff. "I feel I should've made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should've recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through," Sarandos said. "I say that because I respect them deeply, and I love the contribution they have at Netflix. They were hurting, and I should've recognized that first."

However, in his THR interview, Sarandos said the special will not be removed and it falls in line with the company's stance on "artistic expression." "I do think that the inclusion of the special on Netflix is consistent with our comedy offering, it's consistent with Dave Chappelle's comedy brand and this is ... one of those times when there's something on Netflix that you're not going to like," Sarandos said.