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Netflix’s Sarandos Denies Chappelle Special Causes 'Real-World Harm'

Transgender employees are planning a walkout next week to protest the company’s decision to air the show

Dave Chappelle's “The Closer.”
Dave Chappelle's “The Closer.”Photographer: Mathieu Bitton/Netflix

Netflix Inc. co-CEO Ted Sarandos again defended the company’s decision to air a controversial Dave Chappelle comedy special featuring jokes about transgender people, denying that it would lead to “real-world harm,” he wrote into an email to staff Monday.

“Chappelle makes harsh jokes about many different groups, which is his style and a reason his fans love his comedy and commentary,” Sarandos wrote in an email obtained by Variety. “Stand-up comedians often expose issues that are uncomfortable because the art by nature is a highly provocative. As a leadership team, we do not believe that The Closer is intended to incite hatred or violence against anyone.”