Stan Lathan, who directed “The Closer,” was recognized by the DGA for TV directing in the variety, talk, news or sports specials category. Chappelle himself received a PGA nomination in the category of outstanding producer of live entertainment, variety, sketch, standup and talk television.
“The Closer,” Chappelle’s sixth special for Netflix, ignited a media firestorm, as viewers criticized it for what they felt were transphobic and homophobic remarks. After the special drew significant backlash, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle and doubled down on the streamer’s support for “artistic freedom.”
In an October email to Netflix staff, Sarandos wrote, “With ‘The Closer,’ we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.) Last year, we heard similar concerns about ‘365 Days’ and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”
In October, Netflix suspended three employees who crashed an executive meeting in protest of “The Closer,” and later that month, Netflix employees staged a walkout, where trans rights protestors clashed with Chappelle supporters.
In a video posted to his Instagram five days later, Chappelle remained unapologetic about the special, saying, “It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true — if they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about,” Chappelle said in the video. “I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”
The 33rd Annual PGA Awards will take place on March 19 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles, while the 74th Annual DGA Awards are scheduled for March 12, with more details to come.