To the cheers and chants of “Team trans!”, Dozens of Netflix employees left a company building in Los Angeles on Wednesday to protest a recent stand-up special by Dave Chappelle in one of the most visible signs of labor unrest in the history of the streaming service.

Critics inside and outside the company have said that Mr. Chappelle’s show “The Closer” promotes bigotry against transgender people. The protest put the tech company right at the center of broader cultural debates about transphobia, freedom of expression and employee activism. Throughout the day, #NetflixWalkOut was a hot trending topic on Twitter.

Staff carried signs saying “Hey Netflix: Do Better” and “Transphobia Is Not a Joke,” and joined more than a hundred supporters and activists who had started the rally a few hours ago. There was also a small group of counter-demonstrators who chanted, “Jokes are funny”.

Joey Soloway, creator of the Amazon Prime comedy series “Transparent,” urged Netflix executives to add a transgender person to the company’s board of directors “this week,” and the entertainment industry as a whole should start hiring significantly more transgender people, and added, “I would like to propose to a trans person. I would be happy if a trans person gives me notes on my story. I want a trans agent. I want a trans manager. I want so many transcritics in the papers. “

B. Pagels-Minor, a stranger who was fired from his job as a program manager at Netflix last week, read a list of demands that employees had against the company. This included hiring more transgender people and including warnings for content criticized as being transphobic. Netflix said Mx. Pagels-Minor was fired for sharing sensitive documents outside the company; A lawyer for the former employee denied that her client disclosed information to the news media.

In addition to the Los Angeles scene, many Netflix employees who worked remotely turned off their laptops and called off work at noon.

One associate, Gabrielle Korn, wrote on Twitter: “We’re not fighting WITH Netflix. We are fighting FOR Netflix. We all know how great it can be and that it isn’t there yet. “

Amid the ongoing PR crisis, Netflix executives have begun to adopt a conciliatory tone while continuing to support Mr. Chappelle.

Netflix co-chief Ted Sarandos gave several interviews Tuesday saying he “screwed up” communications with staff after the outcry over Mr. Chappelle’s special and that he should have discussed the controversy with more “humanity” . Mr Sarandos also admitted that shows, series and movies on Netflix had an impact on the real world, which he denied in an initial statement.

Similarly, hours before Wednesday’s protest, the company said in a statement that it supported the strike.

“We value our trans peers and allies and understand the deep pain that has been caused,” Netflix said in a statement. “We respect the decision of every employee who leaves and recognize that we have a lot more to do with both Netflix and our content.”

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