Netflix spokesperson fired for using N-word in meetings

  23 June 2018    Read: 1430
Netflix spokesperson fired for using N-word in meetings

Netflix has fired its communications director for using the N-word at least twice during meetings, the Independent reported.

Jonathan Friedland, a former Disney executive, said he felt “awful” for what he described as a “lapse".

In an internal memo sent to Netflix employees, chief executive Reed Hastings apologised for not firing Mr Friedland sooner.

“I’ve made a decision to let go of Jonathan Friedland,” he said in a statement.

“Jonathan contributed greatly in many areas, but his descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company.”

Mr Friedland joined Netflix in early 2011 and became its chief spokesperson the following year.

He used the term twice in the space of several days in meetings with colleagues.

The first incident occurred during a meeting with the public relations team to discuss sensitive words; while the second occasion was at a meeting with black employees at the company.

Following the first meeting, it is understood that Mr Friedland was told how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the term was and apologised to those present.

“We hoped this was an awful anomaly never to be repeated,” wrote Mr Hastings.

However, it then emerged he had used the term a second time shortly after.

"Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” said Mr Friedland in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the story.

“I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated.

In a subsequent, since-deleted tweet, Mr Friedland said: “Rise high, fall fast. All on a couple of words...."

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