Elon Musk praises Netflix for telling staffers to quit if offended by content


Billionaire Elon Musk praised Netflix after the streaming giant updated its corporate culture memo with a clear message for employees: embrace working on content from all viewpoints or find another job.

Netflix added a section dubbed “artistic freedom” in what was the first major update to its company mission statement since 2017. The section notes that Netflix publishes content by letting viewers decide “what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voice.”

“Good move by @netflix,” Musk tweeted in response to a Wall Street Journal article on the change.

Netflix updated the memo – which is publicly viewable on its job site – following a lengthy episode in which the company faced criticism for backing comedian Dave Chapelle.

Some Netflix workers staged a walkout and slammed the company for declining to cut ties with Chappelle, who was accused of making transphobic jokes in his standup special “The Closer.”

“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,” the updated Netflix memo says.

Netflix protests
Netflix employees staged a walkout last year over Dave Chappelle’s comedy special.
Getty Images

“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 change surfaced weeks after Netflix’s stock plummeted after the company reported it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter – and that it expected to lose an additional two million in the second quarter.

Netflix attributed the losses to several factors, including rampant inflation that remained near 40-year highs through April and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Netflix billboard for "The Closer"
Netflix’s decision to back comedian Dave Chappelle over his standup special “The Closer” sparked protests.
AFP via Getty Images

The subscriber loss drew sharp words last month from Musk – a free speech advocate who is pursuing an acquisition of Twitter with a plan to crack down on censorship on the social media site.

“The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” Musk said at the time. The billionaire did not reveal which Netflix programs had prompted his remarks.

Musk took a similar stance earlier this month when asked about a potential exodus of Twitter employees who oppose his buyout bid, telling reporters at the Met Gala that it is a “free country” and workers should pursue other opportunities if they deem it necessary.

Netflix HQ
Netflix updated its corporate culture memo to emphasize artistic freedom.
Getty Images

Netflix also included some other updates to its culture memo – including a pledge to “spend our members’ money wisely” while pursuing growth. The streamer is expected to increase a cheaper ad-supported tier in the near future as part of its effort to address the subscriber crunch.

In January, Netflix reportedly urged its corporate recruiters to avoid referencing Chappelle’s controversial comedy special and issued talking points meant to help them any questions during the interview process.


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