People attend a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout "Stand Up in Solidarity". (Reuters)
A growing number of celebrities are backing Netflix employees who staged a walkout on Wednesday in protest of the streaming giant’s decision to release comedian Dave Chappelle’s controversial new special, “The Closer”, which has anti-transgender comments.
"I stand with every employee at Netflix using their voice to ensure a safe and supportive work environment," Dan Levy of cult show Schitt’s Creek wrote on Twitter.
Thousands of people are posting messages on social media with the hashtag #NetflixWalkout.
Actor Elliot Page, who came out as transgender in 2019, tweeted, “I stand with the trans, nonbinary, and BIPOC employees at Netflix fighting for more and better trans stories and a more inclusive workplace.”
Several other celebrities and activists, including Grey’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez, appeared in a YouTube video voicing their support for #NetflixWalkout and thanking the streaming platform's employees for standing up for the LGBTQ+ community.
“I am sending you all my solidarity, my love and my strength today and always. And in particular at this rally, this walkout. You are all so brave and courageous, and I got your back,” Sara Ramirez said in her message to Netflix employees.
“I know it’s not easy. I know it’s scary. I have so much respect for you and love and gratitude ofr you for sticking up for the LGBTQ+ community’s right to dignity and safety and respect,” actor Jameela Jamil said in the video.
In an unprecedented show of defiance, Netflix staff on Wednesday walked out of their 13-storey Sunset Boulevard offices in Los Angeles. The employees were outnumbered by members of the public who back them.
Demonstrators held signs ioutside the Netflix office, proclaiming, “Trans Lives Matter” and “Team Trans” and chanted slogans like “What do we want? Accountability,” “When do we want it? Now.”
Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos acknowledged in interviews before the walkout, “I screwed up” in how he spoke to Netflix’s staff about the controversial show “The Closer”.
He previously defended the decision to air the show, saying Dave Chappelle's language did not cross the line into inciting violence.