Several LGBTQ+ celebrities voiced their support for this week’s Netflix employee walkout, prompted by Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, which contains transphobic and other insensitive material.
Actors Elliot Page, Dan Levy, Angelica Ross, Jameela Jamil, Colton Haynes, Billy Eichner and others sent messages of love and encouragement to Netflix workers who participated in Wednesday’s demonstration, led by the employee resource group Trans*.
Some of the performers featured in the video have appeared in original Netflix series, such as “Umbrella Academy” and “Queer Eye.”
Leading up to the walkout, organizers demanded Netflix acknowledge the harm caused by the special, set aside a fund for trans and nonbinary talent, hire trans people in leadership positions and attach a disclaimer to Chappelle’s “The Closer” saying it includes “transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia, and hate speech.”
Before the demonstration, Trans* released a celebrity PSA featuring Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”), Page (“Umbrella Academy”), Ross (“Pose”), Jamil (“Legendary”), Haynes (“Teen Wolf”), Peppermint (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”), Jonathan Van Ness (“Queer Eye”), Mason Alexander Park (“Cowboy Bebop”), Our Lady J (“Pose”), Sara Ramírez (“Grey’s Anatomy”), author Kate Bornstein and walkout rally leader Ashlee Marie Preston.
“Thank you to the Trans* employee resource group, and all of the Black and/or queer and/or trans folks who risked their livelihoods and their lives in the name of harm reduction, transparency and the empowerment of our beloved and most marginalized communities at Netflix and beyond,” Ramírez said in the PSA.
“I’mma just be straight up. I’m tired,” Ross said. “I know y’all tired. … It’s been quite a couple years, and I know many of you are feeling the fatigue that I’m feeling of being involved in a movement where we’ve learned tools to move forward, but not everybody is on the same page.”
Among the key speakers at Wednesday’s event were Preston, “Transparent” creator and director Joey Soloway and B. Pagels-Minor, a former Netflix employee and leader of Trans* who was fired by the company for allegedly leaking sensitive information to the press. Pagels-Minor has denied the allegation.
Protesters wore “Team Trans*” T-shirts in solidarity with the trans staffers at Netflix and carried signs that read “Support, uplift, protect trans voices” and “Gender is NOT a fact. Educate yourself.”
“I am sending you so much love,” Van Ness said. “This has been such a challenging time, I’m sure, for all of you, and it really is so often the trans, nonbinary and intersex folks who actually advance these conversations — so often at risk to themselves and to their careers. So I’m just saying thank you. I love you.”
“I know it’s not easy,” Jamil said. “I know it’s scary, and I have so much respect for you, and so much love and gratitude for you for sticking up for the LGBTQ+ communities’ right to dignity and safety and respect.”
Page, who came forward as trans and nonbinary late last year, shared the Trans* PSA on Twitter and penned a message in solidarity with “trans, nonbinary, and BIPOC employees at Netflix fighting for more and better trans stories and a more inclusive workplace.”
Levy also took to Twitter to praise “every employee at Netflix using their voice to ensure a safe and supportive work environment,” while indirectly addressing Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ claim that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” (Sarandos later walked back that remark while doubling down on his defense of “The Closer.”)
“I’ve seen firsthand how vital television can be when it comes to influencing the cultural conversation,” Levy added. “That impact is real and works both ways: positively and negatively. Transphobia is unacceptable and harmful. That isn’t a debate.”
See other supportive messages from Hollywood allies below.