Netflix’s slow-moving car crash response to the Dave Chapelle/The Closer controversy continues, as today is a planned worker walkout in support of trans employees at Netflix who are attempting to create a better environment for themselves and also viewers of Netflix. (In support, consider abstaining from Netflix for the day.)
To try and salvage something of his company’s image, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is cleaning up his comments from last week. But Netflix is a company driven by engagement, not approval, which means we will undoubtedly get more (terrible) comedy like Chappelle’s most recent special, because it has driven a lot of engagement for the platform. The only thing I believe Netflix has “learned” is that they need better internal controls for employee dissatisfaction.
Netflix’s own goal comes even as Squid Game is dominating the monoculture and Netflix is poised to kick off their holiday season, as they have come to dominate the year-end home viewing experience with shows like Bridgerton and movies like Birdbox. One of their biggest holiday launches is Cowboy Bebop, the live-action adaptation of the classic anime starring John Cho. It premieres the week before American Thanksgiving, just in time for people to be looking for a new binge while recovering from overeating on the couch. A new teaser for Cowboy Bebop shows off its 70s style and irreverent tone, and the core trio of Spike Spiegel (Cho), Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir). It looks great. The teaser is super fun and John Cho continues to look very cool as Spike Spiegel, with great f-ckin’ hair.
While I don’t think the recent turbulence at Netflix will affect the launches of any of its upcoming shows and movies—like Disney, they’ve become too big to fail in that way—I do have a feeling that interviews leading up to Cowboy Bebop’s release are going to be full of questions about Chapelle and Netflix’s botched response to their own employees unhappiness, which isn’t fair to Cho or anyone else involved with this show, but that’s how things work now. Everyone must give their opinion on Marvel movies, and anyone doing press must be asked about the latest cultural outrage. Just let John Cho have his hero moment.