Writers’ Blokke
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Writers’ Blokke

Netflix Just Tripped Over its Own Feet and Threw A Queer Woman Under the Bus in its Defense of Dave Chappelle

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Photo by Thibault Penin on Unsplash

I wasn’t going to write about the Dave Chappelle special, but then I read this New York Times article about Hannah Gadsby and Netflix that made my head explode. For some reason, Netflix has chosen to stand by Dave Chappelle’s controversial standup special The Closer. That reason is of course money, but that’s not particularly interesting. Don’t get me wrong it’s evil, but at this point find me a corporation that isn’t? Not only did Netflix chose to double-down on transphobic and transmisogynist hate speech in pursuit of limitless greed, but they unnecessarily dragged a reluctant queer woman into the fray, by attempting to use her as a human shield in an insincere effort to insulate themselves from anti-LGBTQ+ sensitivity critiques.

CEO of Netflix Ted Sarandos, gave the same, lazy free speech used to gaslight the public about their defense of the indefensible in pursuit of profits. As if that wasn’t cruel enough to the say the trans people at Netflix, Sarandos goes on to tokenize other queer voices, as if to say we’re not transphobic, we profit off of queer content too! One of the unlucky tokens was Hannah Gadsby, who’s Netflix special goes into detail about the harms of gendered violence.

Gadsby’s response, is I think more than reasonable:

Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view. You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted.

To add insult to injury, the New York Times somehow finds a way to put the burden of the story on Gadsby. As par for the course of mainstream media outlets, they engage in lazy framing by reporting on what a public person says, rather than engaging in any substance. The implication of their headline is that Hannah Gadsby went out of her way to join the scary cancel culture woke mob that makes for great click bait. She wasn’t even critiquing Chappelle as much as she was telling Sarandos to leave her out it.

Both the New York Times and Netflix demonstrate their ignorance (and possibly their contempt) of the LGBTQ+ community and our struggle for liberation. Sarandos dismissed concerns about enabling trans-hate speech, by tokenizing a cis/agender lesbian, as if LGBTQ+ people are some sort of monolith. Meanwhile Netflix fired the trans woman who organized a walkout in protest of clear hate speech against her own humanity.

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Francesca Gabrielle Bavaro

Francesca Gabrielle Bavaro

Francesca enjoys writing personal-political essays, short fiction, and poetry.