The backlash from Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up is starting to become painfully apparent for streaming giant Netflix. The Closer aired this week, reportedly the last stand-up special between Chappelle and Netflix. The notoriously divisive comedian was in rare form, slammed by many for jokes aimed at the LGBTQIA+ community. He challenged people to try and cancel him following the special, and it seems like they are up to the task. However, instead of just canceling the comic, many are reportedly canceling their Netflix memberships entirely.
It’s a weird time to be Netflix. Just last week the streaming platform was praised by many for the runaway success of the Korean television program The Squid Game. The show has reportedly boasted the most impressive streaming numbers ever for the service, quickly becoming its most-watched show ever. Not even a week later though, people are rushing to cancel their accounts following Chappelle’s The Closer.
It has not all been bad for The Closer. The special is currently rated 8.1/10 on IMBD.com. Rotten Tomatoes gave the Closer a score of 96%, with mostly positive reviews on their site. One commented, “Chappelle’s rampant transphobia doesn’t need to be a problem as long as the jokes land, but his obsession with grievances supersedes any pretense of crafting actual humor.” One of the less enthused critics said, “By the end, the “comedy special” comes across as a somewhat desperate plea from Chappelle to the “alphabet people” to please not cancel him, after having committed the egregious sin of joking about them in his prior special. It’s a sad day when even the GOAT is running scared.”
Over on Twitter it is a different story however. “I watched Dave Chappelle’s newest special, The Closer, and Netflix should pull it,” said one post. Others posted screenshots of their cancellation email, letting Netflix know they have had enough. “Hey @netflix I just canceled our membership over the Dave Chappelle special,” said one former member.
The energy seems to be pretty consistent amongst those not happy with the special. Many are pointing the finger at Netflix for allowing Chappelle to do this over five specials. If this keeps up, the streaming giant can see some pretty bad results in the coming weeks. This is not great, especially following the low subscribing numbers they had earlier this year. A report ran in July that Netflix was looking to court older viewers due to younger people simply not tuning in as much as they used to.
According to The Guardian in June, “Netflix is set to report the smallest growth in subscribers in a decade next week, as the flow of young fans who have fuelled its meteoric rise slows down, leading it to target tech-wary over-55s.” The reasons for this? According to Richard Broughton, media analyst at Ampere, “Netflix has become a victim of its own success. It is so mass-market in many of its more established territories that it has largely signed up all the young audiences already.”
Chappelle may be the biggest target right now, but his program is not the only one that has ruffled some feathers. In March they caught the wrath of Taylor Swift’s fanbase after their show “Ginny and Georgia” made a bad joke about the country-pop star. “What do you care? You go through men faster than Taylor Swift” was the line that set people off. The hashtag #CancelNetflix got a lot of traction in September of 2020, too after subscribers took issue with the film Cuties which many people deemed inappropriate. Fans of Seinfeld have also been pretty upset over an unflattering aspect ratio that cuts a good part of the show’s gags out. Oh, and the aforementioned Squid Game that everyone is raving about has also found its share of boycotters who are upset over lazy translating done with the show’s subtitles. Many are deeming them inaccurate and downright wrong in many cases. Do you think it’s time for Netflix to be canceled?