Dave Chappelle’s Netflix comedy special, “The Closer,” received huge backlash last year for the comedian’s jokes about the trans community that some found deeply offensive. The fallout created a firestorm both inside and outside of Netflix.
Fast forward to Tuesday, when “The Closer” was nominated for two Emmys.
“The Closer” nabbed a nomination in the “outstanding variety special (pre-recorded)” category at this year’s awards. It will be up against “Adele: One Night Only,” “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts,” “Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special” and “One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga.” The special also notched an Emmy nomination for Stan Lathan for outstanding directing of a variety special.
In October Chappelle’s special thrust Netflix into one of the biggest crises in the company’s history. But the streaming giant stood by “The Closer,” despite it being criticized as transphobic by some LGBTQ+ advocates, artists and even Netflix’s own employees, who staged a walkout amid the controversy.
Ted Sarandos, the company’s co-CEO and chief content officer, soon acknowledged that he “screwed up” and could have done a better job in terms of communicating with Netflix employees.
“I should have led with a lot more humanity,” he told Variety in October. “I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn’t do that.”
Still, although Sarandos apologized, he told The Wall Street Journal that he wouldn’t second guess the decision to release Chappelle’s special.
“We have articulated to our employees that there are going to be things you don’t like,” Sarandos told the Journal in October. “There are going to be things that you might feel are harmful. But we are trying to entertain a world with varying tastes and varying sensibilities and various beliefs, and I think this special was consistent with that.”
On Tuesday, Netflix also garnered three nominations in the Emmy’s biggest category, outstanding drama series, with “Squid Game,” “Ozark” and “Stranger Things.”
The 74th Emmy Awards will air on NBC September 12.