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Netflix updates ‘artistic expression’ guidelines, says employees can quit if they don't like content – report

By Kara Santos Published May 16, 2022 1:42 pm Updated May 16, 2022 6:17 pm

According to new company culture guidelines from Netflix, the streaming giant might not be the best place for employees who can not work on content they disagree with or find harmful.

Business Insider reported Sunday (May 15) that the company updated their corporate culture guidelines for the first time since 2017 with a new section regarding “artistic expression.”

According to the streamer, they offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies, some of which might be considered provocative. To help members make informed choices about what to watch, the streamer offers ratings, content warnings, and easy to use parental controls.

“Not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices,” according to the new culture guidelines under Netflix’s jobs page.

“As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you."

In recent years, Netflix and other companies have come under pressure from employees, shareholders and politicians on how they react to cultural and political issues. 

Last October, Netflix employees planned a walk-out to protest Dave Chappelle's controversial standup special, "The Closer," in which Chapelle makes transphobic comments.

Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the decision to air the show in internal emails to employees.

According to a Netflix spokesperson, the new language was added, “so that prospective employees could understand our position, and make better informed decisions about whether Netflix is the right company for them.”

Elon Musk praised Netflix for its new company culture guidelines. In response to a tweet about the new policy, the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire tweeted: "Good move by @netflix." 

Musk previously stated that "The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable," in response to an article on plunging Netflix shares and said in an interview that "wokeness basically wants to make comedy illegal."

Following the news, various netizens online weighed in on the issue.

It's the direction that should be taken by many more companies in the content creation space,” said Twitter user @robbysoave

The account @lawyerforlaws said the new guidelines serves as a warning to potential employees offended by the streaming service's content.

 "The currents are changing," pointed out @VivekGRamaswamy, sharing a link to a related article stating that Netflix reportedly fired the leader of a trans organization within the company last October who organized a walkout to protest the company backing Chappelle over his comedy special The Closer.

The move comes after the streaming giant marked by a loss of subscribers and an unexpected round of creative layoffs, including many writers it hired for Tudum, an official Netflix website dedicated to all the shows and movies on the streamer, as a cost-cutting effort.

The company said it is exploring a lower priced ad-supported version of the platform to help boost its subscriber base. 

Read the full memo at