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In Closing

Former Trans Employees At Netflix Have Settled & Left The Company

Netflix logo on building
Marti Bug Catcher / Shutterstock

In a somewhat-conclusive turn in the fallout from Netflix’s release of Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer and its controversial management of concerns from their trans and gender non-conforming employees, the two people that filed a labor grievance against the company for retaliation have decided to settle and leave the company.

After Netflix released The Closer, which featured Chappelle declaring himself to be “team TERF” and defending his use of transphobic language and rhetoric on stage (you can read all of Chappelle’s anti-trans remarks here), Netflix Senior Software Engineer Terra Field posted a now-viral thread regarding the special.

“I work at @netflix,” she wrote in the first tweet in a thread on October 6. “Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness – all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups.

“You’re going to hear a lot about ‘offense’. We are not offended,” she proclaimed.

Netflix suspended her just days after, allegedly because she tried to attend a closed, board directors-only meeting that she had been invited to. Her suspension was later reversed.

Today, though, she issued her resignation.

Field was one of the two visible trans staffers at Netflix who had to issue a response to the transphobia their workplace was enabling. The other was B. Pagels-Minor, who was a program manager at Netflix and also the president of their trans Employee Resource Group (ERG). Field was vice president.

Pagels-Minor — amidst being pregnant — began planning a walkout over the issue, which was held on October 20. Netflix fired her days before the protest took place, but not officially because of the planned protest, but rather because they claimed she shared private information outside of the company, which they have rigorously denied.

They were 35 weeks pregnant at the time, and last week gave birth to a baby boy.

Shortly thereafter, both Field and Pagels-Minor filed grievances with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking for charges of retaliation to be brought against their employer/ex-employer.

Today, though, they “have resolved their differences with Netflix and will be voluntarily withdrawing their NLRB charge,” their lawyer Laurie Burgess told NBC News.

In Field’s resignation letter — which she sent to her colleagues, the Trans ERG, and published online after — she writes, “This isn’t how I thought things would end, but I am relieved to have closure.”

Field says that amidst everything going on, “there was one person whose advice I sought in all three cases: B. Pagels-Minor.”

“Shortly after B. was fired for something I did not and do not believe they did, I made a decision: sink or swim, I was going to walk side by side with B. as they had for so many of us while they led the Trans* ERG, she writes. “Last week, B. had their son. They are both happy and healthy, and for me that is the note that I’d like this chapter of my life to end on. I want to focus on the joy, not the heartache.”

Field states she is “going to take a month to rest, recover, and consider what I want to do next,” noting she has almost never taken more than a month off of work since 2003, outside of medical leaves.

Pagels-Minor, other than sharing an article reporting the news of the settlement, has not issued any statement or comment.

The Trans ERG has made demands to Netflix, asking for: revised internal processes for handling potentially transphobic content, an increase in trans and non-binary senior leadership in Netflix, allowing for trans and non-binary employees to remove themselves from past videos and marketing materials related to the company’s LGBTQ diversity, an acknowledgment of the harm Netflix has caused with its transphobic content, and the inclusion of disclaimers before such content, warning viewers of their anti-LGBTQ views.

To date, Netflix has not publicly conceded to any of the asks.

Netflix claims in a statement that they have “resolved our differences in a way that acknowledges the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, enables everyone to move on.”

Dave Chappelle, meanwhile, is getting his alma mater’s theater renamed after him and is currently undertaking a mini-tour around the country to screen an untitled documentary for various audiences, with his current stop being in Atlanta.

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