A trans Netflix employee who was criticized comedian Dave Chappelle's latest stand-up special was among the three employees who crashed a top executive leadership meeting late last week. Terra Field, a senior software engineer based in San Francisco, and the other two employees were suspended for crashing the event, which they were not invited to. Sources told Variety Field was not suspended for her tweets critical of Chappelle's The Closer special.
Field and two other employees reportedly joined the virtual gathering, which was meant for only the top 500 employees at the streaming giant. She was suspended for attending uninvited, not because of her tweets. An investigation was launched into the three employees, Variety reports. Field did not comment on the report, but she appeared to reference the attention she received after Variety published its report. "Oh god is this all happening on National Coming Out Day?" she wrote. "Well 2013-polo-and-jorts-me, look what you went and did."
"It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show," a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."
After The Closer was released on Oct. 5, Chappelle was immediately criticized for using the transgender community as punchlines and defending his jokes. The comedian accused trans people of having "thin skin" and said he was "team TERF," referencing "trans-exclusionary radical feminist," an ideology that excludes trans women as women. Jaclyn Moore, who worked on Netflix's Dear White People series, said she would no longer work with Netflix because of the special. Field also published a lengthy Twitter thread on Oct. 6, in which she listed the names of trans people who have been victims of hate crimes.
During the meeting Field and the two other employees crashed, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos took questions about how the company should respond to the criticisms of Chappelle from talent and employees. Sarandos defended Chappelle in a memo to the group, later obtained by Variety. "Chapelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him. His last special Sticks & Stones, also controversial, is our most-watched, stickiest, and most award-winning stand-up special to date," Sarandos wrote. "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."
The sisters of Daphne Dorman, a transgender comedian Chappelle mentioned in his special, defended Chappelle in an interview with The Daily Beast. Chappelle mentioned his friendship with Dorman in his 2019 special, telling the crowd that Dorman took her own life in October 2019, a few weeks after she defended him online. Dorman's sisters said they were disappointed that many thought Chappelle's jokes were transphobic or anti-LGBTQ. "Dave loved my sister and is an LGBTQ ally," her sister Brandy said.