Netflix is a company that prides itself on shaking things up, flouting the established rules of a major entertainment company, and empowering employee decision-making. But with woke employees pushing to censor those who say and do unwoke things in an age in which wokeness is the zeitgeist substitute for virtue, Netflix just sent those woke employees a clear ultimatum: Shut up and do your jobs or go work somewhere else.
The ultimatum was issued as an update to the company’s “core principles.” As Variety reported:
Now Netflix is publishing an update to its corporate culture memo for the first time in nearly five years, a copy of which Variety obtained exclusively ahead of its release Thursday. The last major update was in 2017, when it distilled [Netflix co-founder Reed] Hastings’ original 125-slide presentation from 2009 (which has been viewed more than 21 million times).
The core principles of the Netflix Culture memo, including empowering employee decision-making, requiring candid feedback and terminating staffers who aren’t up to “dream team” snuff, remain intact. But there are some key changes. For starters, the document has a new title: “Netflix Culture — Seeking Excellence” (previously it was simply called “Netflix Culture”).
While the update is far from a complete rewrite, there are some significant changes. Chief among those changes is a new section titled “Artistic Expression.” It tells woke employees that Netflix will not “censor specific artists or voices,” and makes no exceptions for content woke employees consider “harmful.”
The reference to content woke employees consider “harmful” appears to be a direct response to comedian Dave Chappelle’s Netflix Special, “The Closer,” which — due to less-than-woke treatment of the LGBTQ “community” — sparked outrage and walkouts by a large number of Netflix employees.
In what appears to be a shot across the bow of the company’s woke employees, the new section of the company’s core principles plainly states, “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
The section explains, “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.” It goes on to say, “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,” it continues. “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.”
After laying that groundwork, the section delivers the payload, saying:
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.
This writer will attempt to shrug off the wonderful sense of schadenfreude this causes, but it is more than a little fun to see Netflix — which has helped build a culture of wokism while also producing content that actually is truly harmful — be forced to rein in the woke little monsters it helped create. It appears that Netflix is beginning to realize that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.