A Netflix co-CEO has thrown his support behind comedian Dave Chappelle again and defended comics “crossing the line every once in a while.”
Ted Sarandos, who became the streaming giant’s co-CEO in 2020, reflected on the controversy surrounding Chappelle’s transphobic remarks in a 2021 comedy special in an interview with The New York Times.
Viewers criticized the special for its anti-trans content, leading to protests. Sarandos defended the special in a memo to Netflix employees, saying he didn’t think the jokes translated to “real-world harm” — though the co-CEO later admitted to Variety that he “screwed up” in his response.
In this new interview, Sarandos also offered support for comedian Ricky Gervais’ controversial new special, which includes transphobic remarks.
“We’re programming for a lot of diverse people who have different opinions and different tastes and different styles, and yet we’re not making everything for everybody,” he told the Times.
“We want something for everybody but everything’s not going to be for everybody,” he said.
Sarandos expressed his views of Chappelle as a top comedian in the U.S. and for the streaming platform.
“Nobody would say that what he does isn’t thoughtful or smart,” he said. “You just don’t agree with him.”
Earlier this month, Netflix released a company memo vowing to not censor specific artists even if employees found them to be harmful.
“If you find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you,” the memo stated.
An ex-Netflix employee told The Hollywood Reporter the streaming company “made it clear that the new order is ‘if you don’t like it, leave.’”
A man who tackled Chapelle during a recent show told the New York Post it was because of the comedian’s jokes taking aim at the LGBTQ community.
Isaiah Lee, who identifies as bisexual, said he found Chappelle’s jokes to be “triggering.”
Lee pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges linked to the May 3 attack.