Netflix has told staff they must tolerate differing viewpoints or find another job after the streaming giant suffered its first drop in subscribers in a decade.
In a memo to employees, the company instructed staff not to “censor” content they disagree with, even if they find it “provocative.”
The warning shot comes after Netflix executives and junior workers clashed over comments made by comedian Dave Chappelle about transgender people.
Staff at the tech company came out in protest last year over “hate speech” on Chappelle’s show The Closer, including his statements that “gender is fact.”
His calls to remove the show were rebuffed by Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, the bosses of Netflix, who argued that such a move would have affected artistic expression.
They now appear to have formalized this stance in an internal memo, just weeks after the company revealed a drop of 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of 2022.
The memo, first reported by Variety, says: “Entertaining the world is an incredible opportunity and also a challenge because viewers have very different tastes and points of view.
“Not everyone will like, or agree with, everything on our service.
“While each 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, rather than Netflix censoring specific artists or voices.
“As employees, we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles contrary to our own personal values.
“Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles that you perceive to be harmful.
“If you find it difficult to support our breadth of content, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
It comes after Elon Musk, the billionaire boss of Tesla who is trying to take control of the social network Twitter, separately accused Netflix of being infected with a “waking mind virus”.
A dispute over Mr. Chappelle’s show first broke out after his 72-minute special, The Closer, was released on Netflix in October 2021.
During the performance, the comedian accused gay and transgender people of being “too sensitive.”
“They canceled JK Rowling, my God,” he said.
“She said gender was a given, the trans community got so mad, they started calling her TERF (trans-exclusive radical feminist)… I’m the TERF team.
“Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to go through a woman’s legs to be on earth. This is a fact.”
Subsequently, Netflix staff staged protest walkouts and some attempted to force their way into executive meetings.
A letter with a list of demands they later published called on the company to “prevent future instances of platform transphobia and hate speech, and be held accountable for the harm we have caused.”
However, Hastings supported Chappelle and said that Netflix would continue to work with him.
“I think our commitment to artistic expression and pleasing our members is the right long-term choice for Netflix, and we’re on the right side, but only time will tell,” he wrote in an internal staff message board.