Conservatives are praising Netflix for its defense of Dave Chappelle’s transphobia-supporting comedy special, but one right-winger, Larry Elder, isn’t happy about it. He has produced a film of his own, and Netflix isn’t airing it — so he feels conservatives shouldn’t be praising the company.
It’s an old story, told many times especially in recent years: there’s a big company with a moral question to answer, and from a purely-business model, either choice risks the loss of some customers and revenue. Of course, the financial aspect is only one part of the question, which in this case, sets Netflix up to choose whether to support a comedy special that attacks transgender people, using rhetoric that may encourage discrimination and even violence, or to support the identities and safety of trans individuals by rejecting the comedy special and speaking out against attacks on trans rights.
They’ve chosen to support the comedy special.
Conservatives are praising them for this, declaring it a victory for free speech and the right to offend, but Larry Elder, who had hoped to be California’s governor after a recall election (which failed, leaving current Governor Gavin Newsome in office) says that the company hasn’t earned the praise.
It’s not because of the anti-trans jokes and potential harm, though — its because Netflix didn’t also purchase the rights to air his film, titled “Uncle Tom.”
You can see the trailer for the movie below, but be warned it’s loaded with terms that have been used as racial slurs against the Black community, and use discretion in your viewing.
The premise of the film is that Black conservatives are marginalized, attacked for right-wing values, and that Democrats are using a narrative of racism to control the Black population and get their votes. It features Black conservative activists like Candace Owens sharing their views on racism and politics.
In an op-ed for the Daily Journal, Elder posits that this is evidence Netflix isn’t actually standing up against what he calls “cancel culture,” just supporting an “extraordinarily popular” actor and protecting their own bottom line.
As to Hastings’ defense of the Chappelle special due to its high audience rating, consider this. “Uncle Tom,” the film I executive produced that was directed by Justin Malone, had the exact same Rotten Tomatoes approval rating, 96%, as did “The Closer.” But, despite our best efforts, Netflix refused to carry it…Netflix is heavily invested in the extraordinarily popular Chappelle. The entertainment company signed him to a mutually rewarding long-term deal. It wanted to protect its investment.
Chappelle, who has boasted that being ‘cancelled’ is working out for him (due to the extra attention and press he’s receiving) continues to defend the show. According to NPR, he’s insisted that all the trans people he knows personally aren’t offended by the hateful rhetoric, and says that he’ll meet with transgender employees of Netflix, on certain conditions, including that they watch the entire special from beginning to end, and that he gets to choose the time and location for the meeting.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com