Last week, the LA-based streamer dished out a new ‘culture memo’ to staff telling them if they are offended by content the company is working on, they can leave the firm.
The guidance came largely in response to workers saying they would part ways with the company if they continued to work with Dave Chappelle, whose recent specials for the streamer have caused backlash over jokes about transgender people.
The new policy, titled ‘Artistic Expression,’ asserts that brass at the company will not ‘censor specific artists or voices’ even if employees consider the content ‘harmful.’
In response to a tweet noting the change, Musk tweeted, ‘Good move by @netflix.’
Elon Musk has praised Netflix for its recent crackdown on woke workers, after slamming the streaming site last month as having a ‘woke mind virus’ that makes it ‘unwatchable’
Last week, the LA-based streaming service dished out a new ‘culture memo’ to staff telling them if they are offended by content the company is working on, they can leave the firm. In response to a tweet noting the change, Musk tweeted, ‘Good move by @netflix’
In April, the company’s most recent quarterly report revealed the company had lost 200,000 users between January and March this year, causing shares to plummet by 25 per cent, with a further 2million subscribers set to leave by June.
Musk previously blamed the loss of subscribers on Netflix – which boasts titles like He’s Expecting, a show that depicts a man who becomes pregnant – being ‘woke.’
The tweet comes as a stark about-face from an earlier online assertion in April by the Tesla CEO, where he slammed the streamer for pandering to progressive staffers while hemorrhaging subscribers
‘The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,’ the world’s richest man wrote at the time, responding to a tweet about the subscription service’s recent abysmal subscriber numbers.
Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet: ‘Can they please just make sci-fi/fantasy at least *mostly* about sci-fi/fantasy?’
The ailing platform has shelled out millions of viewers over the last year as rivals Amazon, Disney and Apple pick up steam.
Stocks have nosedived over the last six months from nearly $700 to as low as $166 yesterday despite a slight rise to $174 in pre-market trading.
Meanwhile the company has been at war with itself over airing content some woke workers claim is harmful to them.
Young activists have targeted the likes of comedian Chappelle for jokes about transgender people and aimed to get him cancelled.
But Netflix finally appeared to be stamping out the backlash with its new memo titled: ‘Netflix Culture — Seeking Excellence.’
The guidance came largely in response to workers saying they would part ways with the company if they continued to work with Dave Chappelle, whose recent specials for the streamer have caused backlash over jokes about transgender people
Protests erupted outside Netflix last year as staff walked out at their campus in LA due to Chapelle’s comments on specials for the streamer
A man holds a placard as he attended a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout in LA in October
Don’t target content you don’t like and reign in the spending… what are the main changes in the new culture memo?
- Netflix will not ‘censor specific artists or voices’
- If employees consider the content ‘harmful’ the firm may not be for them
- Title changed from Netflix Culture to Netflix Culture – Seeking Excellence
- Cut down on corporate spending added to Valued Behaviors section
- It added sentence saying: ‘You spend our members’ money wisely’
- Memo removed line saying: ‘Note that if our company experienced financial difficulty, we wouldn’t ask our employees to accept less pay’
In a new section called Artistic Expression, it says: ‘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.
‘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.’
It adds: ‘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.’
The memo, which was sent to staff on Thursday, is the first update to the culture guide in five years when it used to just be called ‘Netflix Culture’.
But it keeps the core principles of the original document with notes on empowering employee decision-making and calling for candid feedback.
The new docket appeared to be Netflix taking a firm stand against those trying to thwart artistic content they disagree with.
Chappelle is one of the performers who has come under fire for his show The Closer that caused an eruption at the company last fall.
Some woke activists claimed it contained transphobic and homophobic content and called for it to be canned.
He said in the stand up special ‘gender is a fact,’ and criticized what he said was the thin skin of the trans community.
The jokes were based on observations made by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who in 2019 said trans women were not actually women and were a threat to her identity.
But Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos rowed in behind Chappelle and continued to publish the show – triggering a mass exodus of woke workers.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos rowed in behind Chappelle and continued to publish the show – triggering a mass exodus of woke workers. Netflix’s co-chief executive Reed Hastings recently announced the firm was introducing adverts on a cheaper subscription package
The new memo also contains a section aiming at getting staff to cut down on spending under the ‘Valued Behaviors’ heading.
It says: ‘You spend our members’ money wisely.’ It continues: ‘There are virtually no spending controls and few contract signing controls.
‘Each employee is expected to seek advice and perspective as appropriate. ‘Use good judgment’ is our core precept.’
But the new document removed: ‘Note that if our company experienced financial difficulty, we wouldn’t ask our employees to accept less pay.
‘A sports team with a losing record still pays top of personal market for the players they hope will get them back into a winning position.
‘On the other hand, if the company does well, our broadly distributed stock options become quite valuable.’
Other sections added include Ethical Expectations, Representation Matters and ‘Employees Direct Our Philanthropy’.
The first one appeared to be in reaction to an employee having to be fired in October after admitting they downloaded internal data and shared it with a third party.
It included financial data on Squid Game and Chappelle’s The Closer and was said to be an attempt to point out how much more was spent on the comedian’s show.
Netflix says all its thousands of staff had the chance to see and contribute ideas for the new culture memo using a shared document.
Musk, meanwhile, announced last month that he planned to buy Twitter in a $44 billion deal, and has since teased plans to loosen policies concerning content moderation on the popular social media platform.