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Netflix refuses to censor content, leaked memo to employees says

Netflix (Jade87/Pixabay)
May 13, 2022

Netflix warned its employees in a new corporate culture memo that the company “may not be the best place” for those who are offended by the streaming service’s content because it will not censor content.

According to Variety, who viewed the memo and reported it Thursday, a new section highlights “Artistic Expression” and warns that the company will not “censor specific artists or voices” even if Netflix staffers believe the content is “harmful.” This is the first major update to the corporate culture memo in nearly five years, with the last update occurring in 2017.

“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,” the section states. “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.”

“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,” the section adds. “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

In October, Netflix fired the leader of the trans employee walkout, according to The Verge. The demonstration was organized in protest of comedian Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special in which he poked fun at the LGBT community by referring to them as “alphabet people.”

“We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” a Netflix spokesman said at the time. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”

The memo also comes after the company reported that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. The last time Netflix lost subscribers was in October 2011, the New York Post reported.