Words: Alastair James; pictures: Twitter/@JaclynPMoore and Wiki
Jaclyn Moore, one of the writers and showrunner's of the popular Netflix series Dear White People, has said she is boycotting the streaming service after they released the latest special by the American comedian Dave Chappelle, in which he makes several jokes at the expense of trans people.
Closer was released on the streaming giant on Tuesday 5 October and sees Chappelle, 48, also defend Harry Potter author, JK Rowling and declaring himself on "team TERF". TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and is often applied to people critical of trans rights.
Posting on Instagram on Wednesday (6 October) Moore, who is trans, said: "I won’t work for @netflix again as long as they keep promoting and profiting from dangerous transphobic content."
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Moore expanded on Twitter saying: "I love so many of the people I've worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art... But I've been thrown against walls because, "I'm not a 'real' woman." I've had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I'm done."
Referring to Chappelle as one of her heroes she criticised him for his jokes and for comparing her existence to someone doing blackface.
She added: "When he says people should be mad a trans woman won a "Woman of the Year" award... When he misgenders... When he says he should've told that mother her daughter WAS A DUDE... I just can't... I can't be a part of a company that thinks that's worth putting out and celebrating."
So when he says people should be mad a trans woman won a "Woman of the Year" award... When he misgenders... When he says he should've told that mother her daughter WAS A DUDE... I just can't... I can't be a part of a company that thinks that's worth putting out and celebrating.— Jaclyn Moore (@JaclynPMoore) October 7, 2021
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Moore who began transitioning during the pandemic, said she had never loved Chappelle's previous trans-related material, but that Closer was different. "This is the first time I felt like, ‘Oh, people are laughing at this joke and they’re agreeing that it’s absurd to call me a woman.’
"The fact is that’s the exact rhetoric and language that is used against us."
She continued: "I would just say it’s ironic that for somebody who famously walked away from a TV show because he felt like the messages of the joke got lost, he doesn’t see what the messages of these jokes do to people."
Saying she has no desire to cancel Chappelle, Jaclyn puts the blame at Netflix's feet arguing they would have seen the pre-recorded material and decided that it was ok to distribute.
Referencing her own experience working on Dear White People, Jaclyn knows that conversations about this kind of stuff do take place, and thinks that part of the reason why this got through was due to Dave Chappelle's status and that he has "carte blanche to say whatever he wants."
Jaclyn points out she supports freedom of speech, but also says: "I have the freedom of speech to say that somebody’s speech bothers me, and I don’t want to work with a company that promotes that speech."
She told Variety that she doesn't support cancelling Chappelle, or Netflix removing his programmes from their platform. Her concern is representation. "The fact of the matter is there are very rarely trans people in those rooms and yet we are so often the subject of the derision. We’re very rarely in any decision-making positions."
Asked if she's working on anything with Netflix Moore says she has a few things on the go but that none of it is going to Netflix for the time being. She adds, "I don’t know what it will take for me to feel comfortable in changing that. I know that it will take some action."
"If this is what being canceled is, I love it"
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, since the release of Closer Dave Chappelle appeared at the famous Hollywood Bowl, in front of a sold out crowd, where he laughed at idea of being canceled over his jokes saying: "If this is what being canceled is, I love it"
He's also reported as saying later: "F*** Twitter. F*** NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid ass networks. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life."
In the special, Closer, Chappelle says that JK Rowling was targeted because she stood up for that idea, which he agree with. He then says: "I’m Team Terf. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact." He also made other jokes aimed at the LGBTQ community.
Since the release earlier this week Chappelle has been criticised by leading LGBTQ organisations including GLAAD, the LGBTQ media organisation. It tweeted on Wednesday: "Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.
Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don't support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree. https://t.co/yOIyT54819— GLAAD (@glaad) October 6, 2021
"Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don't support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree."
A Change.org petition has also been launched calling on Netflix to remove Closer citing the Human Rights Campaign.
Netflix has been approached for comment.
The Attitude Awards issue is out now.
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