Netflix fires communications chief for using racial slur

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Netflix fired top communications executive Jonathan Friedland on Friday after he used a racial slur on multiple occasions during meetings with company employees.

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In a memo to staffers obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Friedland used the N-word “several months ago” during a meeting with the company’s public relations team about sensitive words. Within days, Friedland purportedly used the word again while discussing the previous incident with human resources employees.

Some of the company employees who witnessed Friedland use the racial slurs reported the incident, Hastings said. Friedland joined the company in 2011 and had served as the streaming giant’s chief communications officer since 2012.

“I’ve made a decision to let go of Jonathan Friedland,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a memo to employees obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. “Jonathan contributed greatly in many areas, but his descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company.”

Netflix shares closed down about 1% in trading Friday. The company has yet to announce a replacement for Friedland.

Friedland confirmed his firing in a series of tweets, adding that he felt “awful” about the situation.

Friedland’s departure comes amid a period of sustained success for Netflix, which recently said it has 125 million paid subscribers globally. Netflix shares are up more than 100% so far this year.

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