OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Netflix has fired a warning shot at its “woke” employees who have been trying to silence artistic expression and ideas and “cancel” anyone who they disagree with.
The streaming giant has recently issued a memo stating to anyone trying to silence their artists, that they may want to consider seeking a new career opportunity someplace else.
According to a Variety article, things started last year when some “woke” employees complained that comedian Dave Chappelle’s special, which they considered to be “transphobic,” was not for them.
A new section called “Artistic Expression” has been added to the company’s updated Culture memo, which declares that Netflix will not “censor specific artists or voices,” even if some have personally deemed it to be “harmful.”
“If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you,” the memo states.
Additionally, the report states:
The core principles of the Netflix Culture memo, including empowering employee decision-making, requiring candid feedback and terminating staffers who aren’t up to “dream team” snuff, remain intact. But there are some key changes. For starters, the document has a new title: “Netflix Culture — Seeking Excellence” (previously it was simply called “Netflix Culture”).
More significantly, the document adds a new directive for employees to act with fiscal responsibility — a change that comes as Netflix in Q1 saw its first decline in subscribers in more than a decade. The updated Netflix Culture memo also includes a new section called “Artistic Expression,” explaining that the streamer will not “censor specific artists or voices” even if employees consider the content “harmful,” and bluntly states, “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
The Artistic Expression portion of the Netflix Culture document appears in large part a response to the controversy over Dave Chappelle’s “The Closer” that embroiled Netflix last fall over what critics said were his transphobic and homophobic comments in the stand-up special. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the company’s decision to keep the Chappelle special on the service, triggering a large employee walkout in protest.
“Entertaining the world is an amazing opportunity and also a challenge because viewers have very different tastes and points of view. So we offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies, some of which can be provocative,” the new section reads. “To help members make informed choices about what to watch, we offer ratings, content warnings, and easy-to-use parental controls.”
“Not everyone will like — or agree with — everything on our service,” the Artistic Expression section continues. “While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”
The section concludes, “As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
Additionally, the following section was omitted in the update:
“Note that if our company experienced financial difficulty, we wouldn’t ask our employees to accept less pay. A sports team with a losing record still pays top of personal market for the players they hope will get them back into a winning position. On the other hand, if the company does well, our broadly distributed stock options become quite valuable.”
It was perhaps an unexpected move from a major company in the entertainment industry which tends to bend the knee to every gripe and complain of racism, sexism, and anything ant-“woke.” This is the kind of leadership that should be celebrated and replicated among other private companies, especially if the wish to remain in business.
Netflix has likely learned the error in the ways of other individuals and industry companies who found themselves on the receiving end of cancellation when the American consumers decided they don’t want to be part of their liberal agenda and protest took their business elsewhere, as is their right to do so.
An individual’s expression of beliefs or ideas is not exclusive to those on one side of an issue. Expression should be available to all, considering we live in a free country and are grated inalianble rights stated within the Constitution.