Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos took part in an interview with the New York Times that was published over Memorial Day weekend.
In the interview, Sarandos continued to defend the streaming service by claiming their right to freedom of speech. Sarandos continued to back comedian Dave Chappelle, who has received backlash for alleged transphobic comments that he made during his Netflix special, “The Closer.”
Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos Backs Dave Chappelle & Ricky Gervais
Sarandos backed him then and continues to back him, especially after Chappelle was attacked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl while performing at the Netflix Is A Joke comedy festival.
Over the past week, Ricky Gervais has come under fire for alleged transphobic comments that he made during his recent stand-up comedy special, which also aired on Netflix.
Although Gervais is no stranger to criticism about his jokes, co-CEO Ted Sarandos seemed to indicate that fans critiquing Netflix for supporting transphobic stances are really just trying to eliminate their freedom of speech.
‘We’re Not Making Everything For Everybody’
In the New York Times interview with Maureen Dowd, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos seemed to indicate that he was surprised by the backlash that Chappelle received for his comedy special. Several employees staged walkouts in protest of the streaming giant. However, with Gervais’ recently released Netflix special, it seems that it was largely ineffective.
Sarandos indicated that comedians will only figure out what is controversial by “crossing the line every once in a while.”
“I think it’s very important to the American culture generally to have free expression,” Sarandos was quoted saying in the interview, which was transcribed by Deadline.
Sarandos insisted that Netflix is “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. We want something for everybody, but everything’s not going to be for everybody.”
Ted Sarandos Said It ‘Wasn’t Hard’ To Support Dave Chappelle
Sarandos also doubled down on his support for Dave Chappelle, saying that standing behind the comedian “wasn’t hard in that way.”
He indicated that “rarely do you get the opportunity to put your principles to the test.”
“It was an opportunity to take somebody, like in Dave’s case, who is, by all measure, the comedian of our generation, the most popular comedian on Netflix for sure,” Sarandos continued. “Nobody would say that what he does isn’t thoughtful or smart. You just don’t agree with him.”
Although there are probably many that disagree with Sarandos’ take, he also addressed the new Netflix memo that suggested that workers quit if they find themselves uncomfortable with the “diverse content” that Netflix provides.
The memo states: “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
Sarandos claimed that he was surprised by how much support the memo received from conservatives. He told the New York Times, “It used to be a very liberal issue, so it’s an interesting time that we live in.”
“I always said if we censor in the US, how are we going to defend our content in the Middle East?” he asked.
Sarandos was not as vocal about the backlash that Ricky Gervais received about his recent Netflix comedy special, which was also criticized for its alleged anti-trans stance.
Sarandos claimed that the statements that he made about Chappelle also apply to Gervais.