Stars like Jonathan Van Ness, Sara Ramirez, Our Lady J, Kate Bornstein, Angelica Ross, Colton Haynes, Jameela Jamil and more sent in brief video messages showing their support to the LGBTQ+ employees who, in light of the company’s response to the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle’s standup special "The Closer," are standing up to the company and demanding better, more dignified representation.
The protest’s organizer, journalist and activist Ashlee Marie Preston opens the video with a message to the employees and an expression of gratitude to the stars who showed their support.
"This isn’t an easy moment but it’s an important and necessary moment," she says before calling again for "safe and dignified futures for ourselves and our loved ones."
With that, the stars of popular Netflix shows launch into their respective videos in which they highlight the bravery of the employees fighting for better representation.
"I am sending you so much love and solidarity and just sending you so much gratitude for the work that you continually do," said the star of Netflix’s "Queer Eye," Van Ness. "The work that folks see, the works that folks don’t see to create a world that is more equitable and fair and to ultimately achieve LGBTQ liberation."
He adds: "I know it’s not easy and I know it’s scary and I have so much respect for you and so much love and gratitude for sticking up for the LGBTQ+ community’s right to dignity and safety and respect."
Later in the video, Haynes thanks the employees for fighting for a space where LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities' stories can be told.
"From the bottom of my heart thank you," he says. "Not just for the work that you’re doing today but for the constant f---ing marathon that you’re having to run just to ensure that there’s a safe workspace and that there’s safe content and safe speech."
Mason Alexander Park, who will appear in Netflix’s upcoming projects "The Sandman" and "Cowboy Bebop" was among the only stars to directly address the response issued by Netflix to those who believe Chappelle’s special is transphobic.
"It’s obviously very disheartening to see the stance that has been taken," they said. "I know it’s not a representation of all the people that work at Netflix, but it is the representation of the leadership, at least, and that will not change until we give nonbinary and trans people like myself more power and positions to tell our own stories."
The star’s comments came hours after Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos says he "screwed up" with his initial response to the controversy.
In emails to Netflix staff after the special’s debut earlier this month, Sarandos defended "The Closer," citing its popularity on the platform and the company’s commitment to creative freedom. He also said the company believed "content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm."
However, in an interview with Variety Tuesday ahead of the protest, he walked back those statements.
Other stars to speak out outside the video include Elliot Page, who stars on Netflix’s "The Umbrella Academy," tweeted that he stands with the trans, nonbinary and people of color working at Netflix who are "fighting for more and better trans stories and a more inclusive workplace."
"Schitt's Creek" creator, writer, actor, and director Dan Levy also posted a message of solidarity on Twitter. He signed a multiple-year overall film and TV deal with Netflix in September 2021.
Levy wrote: "I stand with every employee at Netflix using their voice to ensure a safe and supportive work environment. I’ve seen firsthand how vital television can be when it comes to influencing the cultural conversation. That impact is real and works both ways: positively AND negatively. Transphobia is unacceptable and harmful. That isn’t a debate."