The battle within streaming media giant Netflix continues Wednesday as employees walked out, demanding that the firm better support its trans and non-binary employees.
Ahead of Wednesday’s walkout, a Netflix spokesperson released a statement saying: “We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that’s been caused. We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content.”
The incident that sparked the employee action may have been the company’s handling of Dave Chappelle’s new special The Closer, which included some jokes at the expense of transgender people. But former employee B. Pagels-Minor says the issue runs deeper.
Pagels-Minor is the employee who Netflix recently terminated for leaking “confidential, commercially sensitive information” outside the company. Netflix says this data was used to write a Bloomberg article disclosing information about various metrics and expenditures, details that the company usually keeps under wraps.
“I collected the data, but I did not leak the data,” says Pagels-Minor. They said that the information was shared internally among employees, but not with anyone outside the company, adding that they were not given an opportunity to prove their case when they were fired.
Pagels-Minor headed the employee resource group for transgender and nonbinary employees, known as Trans*, and was a member of a Black Employee Group, known as Black@.
They said the walkout began as a proposal for a day when transgender and non-binary employees would take paid leave due to exhaustion from Chappelle’s news cycle, while all other workers were invited to show support.
However, Pagels-Minor saw how executives avoided questions surrounding the controversy and began to organize a full-blown walkout, along with drawing up a list of employee claims.
The list of demands includes hiring trans and non-binary people in leadership positions, establishing a fund to support trans and non-binary talent, and adding disclaimers “that specifically flag transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia, hate speech, etc. as required.”