One of the most effective counterprotests I’ve ever seen. Here’s a taste of the main speakers from today’s demonstration organized by trans Netflix employees and sympathizers to protest Dave Chappelle’s new special:
"Your jokes are promoting hateful and discriminatory behavior and conversation, and that is what hurts us," says @eurekaohara at the #NetflixWalkout. https://t.co/OsrDv4QD1O pic.twitter.com/5obnHIfFR9
— Variety (@Variety) October 20, 2021
How do you answer that if you’re Team Chappelle and want to make your voice heard? You could show up and earnestly make all the familiar counterpoints. Chappelle has no malice towards trans people; he’s an equal-opportunity offender in his comedy; getting Netflix to pull his special would reinforce a drab PC orthodoxy within an industry that’s supposed to be irreverent; cancel culture is stultifying and needs to be reined in.
But engaging the Netflix workers earnestly risks legitimizing their grievances. If you’re debating them over whether Chappelle should be silenced or marginalized, you’ve already implicitly admitted that that’s a debate worth having.
So why not barge in instead and deflate their sanctimony with mockery? “Trans people are in the middle of a holocaust,” insisted one speaker at the event. To which the reply came: Jokes are funny. Jokes. Are. Funny.
Netflix workers outraged by Dave Chapelle’s comedy special walk off the job. They are met by counter-protesters with signs that say “Jokes are funny”. pic.twitter.com/VozIqSV8hb
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) October 20, 2021
At today’s Netflix walkout, where “trans lives matter” chants are going up against Chappelle supporters shouting “I like jokes” pic.twitter.com/eX1qHgdj7R
— Kirsten Chuba (@KirstenChuba) October 20, 2021
Jokes really are funny. And chanting “jokes are funny” in the middle of progressive activists rending their garments over a few minutes from a Dave Chappelle routine is a funny joke. Or half-joke.
The guy with the glasses got under the crowd’s skin so much that one demonstrator grabbed his “Jokes Are Funny” sign and smashed it — and then accused him of having a “weapon” when the broken signpost was handed back to him. (Speech is violence!) That’s the woke id laid bare, but the guy with the sign didn’t let it faze him. Instead he couldn’t keep a straight face at the absurdity of protesters trying to drown him out as he yelled things like “I like Dave!” They came off looking ridiculous at seeming so threatened by him, which I’m sure was what he was going for when he showed up.
A couple of people with signs supporting #DaveChappelle try to interrupt a rally in support of a Team Trans employee walkout outside the #Netflix building on Vine in #Hollywood. @CBSLA @KCBSKCALDesk pic.twitter.com/H72Tmuqdbs
— John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) October 20, 2021
This guy understands where most of the public is on the Chappelle dust-up. There is a serious complaint at the heart of this about the fringe left demagoging cuturally influential institutions like Netflix to enforce their political orthodoxy or else be accused of bigotry. But I think to the average person the objection here is much simpler: Chappelle’s a comedian, he meant no harm, and he gives it to everyone. He gets a wide berth. So lighten up.
Jokes are funny.
“Netflix is now, like a woke college campus, an upside-down company in which the bottom tells the top what to do,” wrote Kyle Smith today about a tactical retreat being executed by the company’s CEO. I won’t say more about that since Ed has a post coming up on it. But to illustrate the point, here’s a list of demands that today’s demonstrators sent to Netflix which they expect to be met expeditiously. Some of it is standard shakedown activism about the company spending money on more trans projects, trans causes, etc, but the “Harm Reduction” demands caught my eye.
Acknowledge the harm and Netflix’s responsibility for this harm from transphobic content, and in particular harm to the Black trans community;
Add a disclaimer before transphobic titles that specifically flag transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia, hate speech, etc. as required;
Boost promotion for Disclosure and other trans-affirming titles in the platform;
Suggest trans-affirming content alongside and after content flagged as anti-trans.
Would Dave Chappelle agree to have his special branded “transphobic” and “hate speech”? Even if he did, he must realize that Netflix and the employees who walked out today won’t stop at merely labeling future “problematic” material. If the next special features a bit goofing on trans activism, progressives in-house will insist that the company not host it. What happens then?
If management doesn’t reject the “Harm Reduction” demands, Chappelle should walk. Surely there’s another platform out there that would let a comedian of his stature say what he wants. Isn’t there?
I’ll leave you with this. Doesn’t look like a big crowd.
Netflix employees participate in a walkout to support their trans colleagues and protest the company’s continued support of Dave Chappelle’s most recent special.
— The Recount (@therecount) October 20, 2021