Former Netflix employees withdraw labor complaint

Two former Netflix employees who raised concerns about transphobic comments in Dave Chappelle’s latest special “The Closer,” retracted an allegation they filed with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the streamer had prevented them from talking about working conditions.

Both senior software engineer Terra Field and game launch program manager B. Pagels-Minor were leaders in the Netflix Trans* employee group that criticized the special. A group of employees forced the streamer to hire more transgender people in leadership positions and to have more trans and non-binary representation in front of and behind the camera, among other requests.

In their complaint filed with the NLRB last month, the employees said Netflix retaliated against them to “suppress” [them] speak out about working conditions, including, but not limited to, promoting a safe and affirmative work environment for Netflix employees, speak out about Netflix’s products and the impact of its product choices on the LGBTQ+ community, and provide support to employees who has treated Netflix illegally and unfairly.”

Netflix confirmed Monday that the complaint had been withdrawn.

“We’ve resolved our disagreements in a way that recognizes the erosion of trust on both sides and, we hope, allows everyone to move forward,” Netflix said in a statement.

Netflix declined to answer questions from The Times about whether there was a settlement and whether any changes had been made to policies or practices since concerns were raised about the Chappelle special and the labor suit was filed.

Field said on Twitter Monday that she was resigning from Netflix.

“I’m not happy it turned out this way, but I do think this outcome is best for all parties involved,” Field tweeted.

Pagels-Minor also confirmed the withdrawal of the payroll tax, but declined to comment further. Pagels-Minor was accused by Netflix of leaking sensitive information about the special to the media, which they deny.

Outrage over the Chappelle special gained momentum in October, as Hollywood talent, employees and allies, including Field and Pagels-Minor, spoke out. On October 20, workers left their jobs in protest and a demonstration was held outside a Netflix office in Los Angeles.

“I want my child to grow up in a world where they see their parent, a black, trans person — because I exist, contrary to what the special says, contrary to what a lot of people say — that I’m valued and I’m I’m an important person,” Pagels-Minor said at the event.

Netflix’s stance on the matter was not to remove the Chappelle special and, in a letter obtained by Variety, the streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he did not believe the content translates directly to damage in the real world.

The night before the employee’s layoff, Sarandos admitted to Variety that he “blew up that internal communication,” acknowledging that it could have handled the situation better.

“I should have led with a lot more humanity,” Sarandos told Variety. “I had a group of employees who certainly felt aches and pains from a decision we had made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged in advance before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn’t.”

Staff writers Christi Carras and Tracy Brown contributed to this report.

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