Netlfix loses another trans employee after Dave Chappelle ‘transphobia’ controversy
A trans Netflix employee who criticised the streaming giant for releasing Dave Chappelle’s “transphobic” comedy special has quit her job.
“This isn’t how I thought things would end,” Terra Field wrote in her resignation letter, “but I am relieved to have closure.”
Field worked as a senior software engineer at Netflix, and she hit out at Dave Chappelle and the streaming giant in a Twitter thread that quickly went viral in the days after his latest comedy special was released on 5 October.
Field’s Twitter thread, liked more than 50,000 times, said that Chappelle’s special, The Closer, “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness” and attempts to “pit us against other marginalized groups”. The thread went on to explain why trans people “are not offended”. The Closer has been widely condemned as transphobic; Netflix has rejected that it amounts to hate speech.
Field was later suspended from her position at Netflix after she tried to “attend a director-level meeting” she hadn’t been invited to. She was then reinstated into her job, and later explained why she felt the need to speak out against the streamer in an essay posted to Medium.
She said her goal was not to “cancel Chappelle”, adding that her criticism wasn’t even really directed at the comedian.
“Dave is not, and has never been, the cause of this problem – he is a symptom of it. That Dave believes the things he says and can say them with relative impunity is a result of the culture we live in: a culture that marginalises and devalues trans people,” Field wrote.
On 21 November, Field resigned from Netflix, sending a copy of her resignation letter to her team, posting it on her website, and sharing it with Netflix’s Trans* Employee Resource group – which organised a company-wide walkout in the wake of the row about publishing transphobic content that developed after Netflix stood by its decision to release the Chappelle special.
Trans software engineer Terra Field quits Netflix
In her resignation letter, Field said that there is one person whose advice she always seeks: fellow trans Netflix employee B. Pagels-Minor. (Pagels-Minor was fired by Netflix in October, with Netflix claiming they shared information with the media on the economics behind and viewership of the controversial hour-long special by comedian Dave Chappelle).
“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,” Field wrote in her resignation letter.
It continued: “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 also thanked her team for making her feel “safe, supported and included” in the few months she worked with them, including for their “support throughout this entire ordeal”. She also thanked the Trans* ERG, saying it is “impossible to emphasise how important the ERG was to me” and describing the other people in that group as “family”.
Finally, Field addressed the questions of “what’s next”.
“I am going to take a month to rest, recover, and consider what I want to do next,” she wrote. “I have been working full time since 2003 and I don’t think I’ve ever taken more than a week or two off at once other than for medical leave.
“Hopefully the time will allow me to remember the things I love and miss about this work.”