Hannah Gadsby shreds Netflix and Chappelle’s ‘emotionally stunted partial world view’

A portrait of Hannah Gadsby.
Hannah Gadsby blasted Netflix boss Ted Sarandos and fellow comedian Dave Chappelle.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision)

Hannah Gadsby’s comedy has nothing to do with the harmful commentary fellow comic Dave Chappelle espouses in his polarizing new Netflix special, no matter what the streaming giant says.

In an excoriating open letter posted to Instagram Friday, Gadsby lambasted Netflix’s Ted Sarandos for the co-CEO’s flippant memo about the backlash and specifically for mentioning Gadsby, whose comedy specials (“Nanette,” “Douglas”) stream on the platform.

“Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess,” Gadsby’s Instagram note said.


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Sarandos’ widely criticized letter to Netflix employees, obtained by Variety, shrugged off the growing controversy and asserted that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

He added: “Adults can watch violence, assault and abuse — or enjoy shocking stand-up comedy — without it causing them to harm others. We are working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story. So we have ‘Sex Education,’ ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Control Z,’ Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.”

Gadsby wholeheartedly disagreed. The Australian comic — whose specials have touched on homophobia, sexism and gendered violence — took issue not only with Chappelle’s transphobic remarks in “The Closer,” but also with Chappelle’s brand as a whole.

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“Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view,” the comedian wrote on Instagram.

Gadsby, who is gender-nonconforming, continued: “You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. F— you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do s— with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke! I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.”

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Gadsby’s remarks come after some of Netflix’s trans employees have publicly voiced their concerns about “The Closer” and their fears that it could fuel violence against trans people. Netflix has refused to pull the hit special, arguing that it must protect the creative freedom of its artists even when their material is controversial.


Gadsby’s caption also said: “Yes I watched the whole thing. Leave me alone,” adding the hashtags #transisbeautiful, #comedyisdead and #ikilledit.