Netflix CEO Refuses To Bow Down To Cancel Culture
Netflix is refusing to bow to the cancel culture mob following the Dave Chappelle special, does this mean the tide is turning?
The uproar over Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special continues. The woke mob is demanding that the streaming service “deplatform” the 48-year-old comic due to language they deem to be dangerous. Now usually when we’re into another week of protesting and activism, we see entertainment companies cave to the pitchfork-wielding wokesters. But, not this time. Instead, Netflix’s CEO Ted Sarandos is standing his ground amid growing calls to cancel Dave Chappelle.
It almost feels strange – even foreign – to see an entertainment giant like Netflix stand by their decision and Chappelle’s right to make the jokes he wants to make.
Critics claim Chappelle’s jokes will cause real-world harm, Netflix’s CEO Ted Sarandos pushed back against the idea that television inspires violence:
“The strongest evidence to support this is that violence on screens has grown hugely over the last thirty years, especially with first party shooter games, and yet violent crime has fallen significantly in many countries. Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse – or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy – without it causing them to harm others,”
Contrast Netflix with companies such as Quaker Oats, who canceled Aunt Jemima, despite Jemima’s own family saying the syrup brand wasn’t racist. Some companies can’t even defend what you put on pancakes.
Netflix stands alone in a world where everyone seems to appease the cancel mob. Even when the content is outright disgusting and bordering on illegal, Netflix stands by it.
Is the content behemoth making a brave stand or is this a calculated business decision?
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I personally think the answer is a bit complicated. Netflix plays the woke card when they need to, but when it comes to popular content, Netflix will defend its creators’ rights.
Defending A Comedian’s Right To Make Jokes
It isn’t just Netflix defending Dave Chapelle, but comics are as well.
Comics understand that the ability to take risks for the sake of humor is vital for comedy to thrive.
Damon Wayans says Dave Chappelle’s highly controversial Netflix special ‘freed the slaves,’ knocks cancel culture: ‘You’re no longer free in this country’ https://t.co/XQlEjPyT8h
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) October 13, 2021
New Chapelle, and I’ll never say this about comedy, but it’s IMPORTANT.
— Tim Dillon (@TimJDillon) June 12, 2020
Every comedian should all be thanking Dave Chappelle for taking the chances he takes. He’s opening the door for us to create more freely. I thought edgy comedy was dying. We need more big comedians that don’t give a fuck.
— Luis J. Gomez (@luisjgomez) August 30, 2019
Netflix CEO Unphased By Threat Of Employee Walkout
While Netflix employees planned a walkout over the special, their leader is unphased and is fully defending Chappelle.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is doubling down on his defense of Dave Chappelle following the mounting controversy around his latest comedy special: “We have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” https://t.co/o6jaeXv2Sm pic.twitter.com/Zf1FBUT44y
— Variety (@Variety) October 14, 2021
This sort of activism might work at a factory or retail store. But at a streaming service the reality is that day-to-day office employees don’t fall into the same asset category as its talent. Netflix knows who butters their bread.
But still, it would be so easy for Sarandos to cave and remove Chappelle.
His radical employees and the media would probably loudly applaud another attack towards the idea of free speech.
While Netflix is of course free to do what they want as a private company, that they are taking a stand here for freedom of expression is notable.
Democracy can only thrive when people are free to say what they want. This isn’t to say people are free from consequences, but those demanding and expecting silence are not in favor of a free exchange of ideas and shouldn’t be rewarded for their calls for censorship.
Will This Stand Against Cancel Culture Last?
I’m doubtful and hopeful for the same reason: Chappelle most likely generated a lot of money for the streaming service. Even in this woke “post-capitalist” society, MONEY TALKS AND BS WALKS!
Make no mistake, Netflix exists to provide quality content because it makes them obscene amounts of money. They know Chappelle drives views and his controversy only increases demand.
However, it’s worth noting that this is not the first time Sarandos defended a controversial comic.
Norm MacDonald, a brilliant comic but not on the same level of fame as Chappelle, made similar hot-button comments while promoting his Netflix talk show.
The late comedian had several television appearances canceled and was raked over by the media.
But Netflix stood by their man:
Rather than choosing how and when Macdonald reached out in the aftermath of his controversial comments, Netflix evidently allowed Macdonald to share his own response in his own words. Given that the uproar was not what the streaming giant probably wanted ahead of Macdonald’s show’s premiere, the leeway regarding his public statement may surprise some.
Chappelle knows exactly what’s doing. His comedy directly challenges modern cancel culture and its hypocrisy.
In fact, Dave Chappelle dedicated his new Netflix special “The Closer” to the late, great Norm MacDonald.
Dave Chappelle dedicated his new special to Norm MacDonald. Greatness recognizes greatness. pic.twitter.com/rNDMRsM17g
— Dave Loughran (@Loughy_D) October 6, 2021
If Netflix stood up for a niche comic like Norm, perhaps it is a signal the content megalith will continue to stand against the radicals who want to silence comedy they find “offensive.”
Netflix has the flexibility to stand by controversial creators because of their diverse audience. They made a correct decision long ago to make content for everyone. Just look at all the oddly specific content categories the services have.
This is a rare moment where there is a “good guy” in Hollywood media.
Is Netflix really standing against cancel culture? Or is this all about money? Share your thoughts in the comments below.