Netflix has updated its corporate culture memo, seemingly in response to the Dave Chappelle backlash

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Netflix updated its corporate culture memo this week for the first time since 2017, and the streamer seems to be tripling (quadrupling?) down on its ham-fisted support for comedian Dave Chappelle.

According to Variety, which obtained a copy of the updated memo ahead of its release on Thursday, the name of the document had likewise been updated as “Netflix Culture — Seeking Excellence,” where it used to just be called “Netflix Culture.” Apparently, the core principles of the memo remain intact, such as empowering employee decision-making, requiring candid feedback, and terminating staffers who don’t fit into the corporate “dream team” mold.

However, the big change is that the document now requires employees to work on content that they may deem to be “harmful” or “counter [their] our own personal values.” In that event, it states that “Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

In October of 2021, Netlfix employees staged a walkout amid outrage over Chappelle’s sixth standup special for the platform, The Closer, due to trans jokes. “Gender is a fact,” the 48-year-old said in the special. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.”

“That is a fact,” he added before going on to make some more colorful observations.

Yet, despite outrage from both inside and outside of the company, Netflix added Chappelle to its comedy festival lineup that took place earlier this month (where he was attacked onstage) and handed him the keys to produce four additional comedy specials.

With this latest move, Netflix appears to be sending a clear message that its employees are second-class citizens when compared to content. You can read the revised section of the memo below.

“Entertaining the world is an amazing opportunity and also a challenge because viewers have very different tastes and points of view. So we offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies, some of which can be provocative,” the new section reads. “To help members make informed choices about what to watch, we offer ratings, content warnings, and easy-to-use parental controls.

Not everyone will like — or agree with — everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

As employees, we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

About the author

Stacey Ritzen

Stacey Ritzen

Stacey Ritzen is a Philadelphia-based reporter with 15 years of experience covering pop culture, entertainment, web culture, and news. She has previously worked for outlets including Uproxx, Pajiba, Daily Dot, and more.