People tried to destroy Netflix after they stood by embroiled comic Dave Chappelle, but it seems the streamer is prevailing in the face of cancel culture and woke media. News reports are showing that Netflix remains atop the streaming hierarchy and has their decision to stand by divisive content to thank for it.
Dave Chappelle haters threatened to tank the streaming giant following its choice to keep his controversial content on the channel. This included his six original stand-up specials for the streamer and his groundbreaking Comedy Central series, The Dave Chappelle Show. Ted Sarandos, CEO of Netflix, stood by Chappelle after trans groups deemed his content transphobic and problematic. In a statement from May, Ted said that comedians had to “cross the line every once in a while. I think it’s very important to the American culture generally to have free expression.” He went on to say that the streamer had tons of inclusive content, and people had choices on other things to watch if they wanted to.
Ted says freedom of speech “used to be a very liberal issue, so it’s an interesting time that we live in. I always said if we censor in the US, how are we going to defend our content in the Middle East?” While this type of stance in the face of public opinion has not proven to work for everyone, for Netflix, it’s reportedly meant a spike in revenue. “The company announced it added 2.41 million subscribers in the third quarter, far more than its modest 1 million projection. That sent shares soaring by 14 percent [as of October 20th, 2022],” according to sources.
The company also reported that the bulk of its new subscribers came from the Asian/Pacific markets, a possible reflection of their other massive success, Squid Game. Netflix is getting a lot of praise now for standing by its free thinkers and are, of course, looking to continue its relationship with Dave Chappelle. He’s already been tapped to headline next year’s Netflix is a Joke festival.
Chappelle’s last stand-up, “What’s In A Name?” came out in July. He delivered a set at his alma mater about freedom of speech after the students opted not to name a theater after him following the controversy from his other stand-ups.