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Tik Tok LGBTQ Pride Flag parody enrages conservatives

The ensuing vitriol included accusing her of being an “indoctrinator with an ungodly social agenda.” She was also being harassed online.

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Screenshot from Twitter

COSTA MESA, Ca. – A teacher in southern California filmed a Tik Tok parody regarding students reciting the daily pledge of allegiance ritual for her classroom, substituting the America national flag with the LGBTQ+ “Progress” Pride flag and was promptly attacked by conservatives and elements of the extreme far right on social media.

Kristin Pitzen, who teaches English-as-a-second-language for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, in her now deleted Tik Tok account, poked fun at the pledge in an apparently empty classroom in her post this past Friday.

 

In the video she says; “Okay, so during third period, we have announcements and they do the pledge of allegiance.

“I always tell my class, stand if you feel like it, don’t stand if you feel like it, say the words if you want, you don’t have to say the words.

“So, my class decided to stand but not say the words. Totally fine.”

One of the students pointed out, however, that it was a bit “weird” to pledge allegiance to a flag, with no flag in the classroom.

Pitzen explained to the camera in an aside that she had taken down her classroom’s American flag during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it “made her uncomfortable”, but added that she had packed it away and could no longer find it.

She continued: “In the meantime, I tell this kid, ‘We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to. And he like, looks around and goes, ‘Oh, that one?’”

She panned the camera to her left and up and focuses on the LGBTQ Progress Pride Flag hanging on the wall above her head.

While some commentators were amused by the parody, the pushback from numerous accounts labeled as conservative, patriotic, Christian and other variants of the right including far right elements were definitely not amused.

Pitzen in a video released in June celebrated LGBTQ Pride month.

A social media Twitter account known as ‘Libs of Tik Tok @libsoftiktok” captured both videos along with screenshots of a sampling of the comments on the ‘Pledge to the Pride Flag’ video, many of which supported Pitzen.

The ensuing vitriol included accusing her of being an “indoctrinator with an ungodly social agenda.” Numerous people tracked down and harassed Pitzen causing her to delete her Tik Tok account. Additionally hundreds left enraged messages on the Facebook page for the school District which responded Saturday afternoon to the school system’s page stating;

“On Friday evening, one of our teachers created a personal social media post that caused alarm and concern related to saluting the American flag. Showing respect for our nation’s flag is an important value our District instills in our students and is an expectation of our employees. We take this matter seriously and are investigating and addressing it.”

The uproar caught the attention of a former Trump administration official- gay conservative Richard Grenell, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany who is a resident of Southern California himself, joining in on twitter and he too blasted Pitzen;

“What kind of parent would allow their child to be taught by this wacko? Why are parents turning their kids over to someone they don’t know? I’d like to talk to people who think this is good?!?”

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Netflix walkout attracts 100 plus supporters & also a few Chappelle fans

The demonstration comes as backlash over Dave Chappelle’s standup special “The Closer” on Netflix, criticized as being transphobic, continues

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Screenshot of KTLA 5 coverage of the protest

HOLLYWOOD – A walkout of Trans employees and supporters was joined by over 100 additional demonstrators in support of the transgender community outside the Netflix offices at 1341 Vine Street in Hollywood Wednesday and were also met with a handful of Chappelle fans.

Wednesday morning’s demonstration comes as backlash over comedian Dave Chappelle’s standup special “The Closer” on Netflix, which has been criticized as being transphobic, continues.

Organized by Los Angeles community activist Ashlee Marie Preston, the event was held “to underscore the importance of responsible content offerings that prioritize the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities,” Preston wrote in a statement released a couple of days ago.

Netflix had issued a statement prior to the walkout saying: “We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that’s been caused. We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content.”

Singer-songwriter, entertainer and community activist Neverending Nina was interviewed by KTLA 5 LA at the demonstration. “As Black trans people, as trans people, as non-binary people, we are ultimately all we have,” she told KTLA’ Erin Myers, while standing among hundreds gathered for the demonstration. “So if we don’t speak up for ourselves, then who will?”

“We just want to make sure that these entities are being held accountable, and actually provide change to better the community that has been dealt trauma by issuing certain propaganda in this space,” she added.

Video of the event showed several participants that carried signs, some that read “transphobia is not a joke” and “Black Trans live Matter.” Several speakers addressed the crowd.

Among the speakers, which included actor and drag performer David Huggard Jr., whose stage name is Eureka O’Hara, was Leon Wu, founder of SharpeHaus. Wu, a designer, entertainment producer and BIPOC trans activist told the Blade after the protest ended;

“It’s time for big entertainment, media and publicity to make a commitment to change. It’s time for us all to take more social responsibility on the content we create, direct, produce and distribute to the world. I mean, just look at what we’ve done to ourselves in the past two years during pandemic. We’ve seen how much misinformation, sensationalized news and irresponsibility in public or social media can do us so…much… harm. It’s time to take more social responsibility on what is ethical comedy and entertainment, what is newsworthy, and what information is positive, helpful or innovative to share in the world.”

A few counter-protesters arrived carrying signs saying “We like Dave” and “We like jokes.”

Counter-protester Gigi Larue said many comedians “take jabs” at everyone.

“You may not like what he has to say, but don’t listen,” said Gigi Larue. “You don’t get to silence his voice and silence the voices of people who support him.”

“Comedy is for everyone, but we also know that there is truth in jokes,” Nina told Myers. “And so we if anyone has not been around a trans person ever in their life but they also have always heard jokes about trans people, then that bias will show up when they finally get introduced to trans person.”

The growing outcry by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and allies since the release earlier this month of the Netflix Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer, regarding transphobic and other anti-LGBTQ innuendo and statements by the comedian escalated after the company suspended one of its Trans employees.

After the special aired, Terra Field, an Out Trans Netflix senior software engineer based in San Francisco, posted a series of tweets that expressed anger over Chappelle’s blatant transphobia.

Field in her Twitter thread countered the position laid out by Sarandos, pointing out that Chappelle’s promoting the kind of ideology and speech can result in real-world consequences especially death for Trans people. 

The situation was further enflamed when the company terminated a Black organizer of the pending October 20 walkout by its Trans employees. The employee, “who is Black and currently pregnant, asked not to be named for fear of online harassment.”

Netflix Inc. Co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos sparked internal dissent he defended the special and said it wouldn’t translate to real-world harm.

Sarandos later said he “screwed up” in his efforts to communicate with the workers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Stand Up in Solidarity,” will present co-CEO Ted Sarandos with a list of “firm asks” after the demonstration and the protest will feature a PSA from stars including Angelica Ross, Jonathan Van Ness, Jameela Jamil, Eureka O’Hara and Colton Haynes.

Additional reporting and video by Susan Hornik

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Netflix walkout Wednesday morning: “Stand Up in Solidarity”

A walkout is set to happen Wednesday morning at 10:30AM near Netflix’s EPIC building in Hollywood at 1341 Vine Street

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HOLLYWOOD – A walkout to show solidarity with Trans people and Trans employees of the streaming giant Netflix is set to happen Wednesday morning at 10:30AM at Netflix’s EPIC building in Hollywood.

Organized by community activist Ashlee Marie Preston, the event will feature creators, grassroots organizers and public figures coming together “to underscore the importance of responsible content offerings that prioritize the safety and dignity of all marginalized communities,” Preston wrote in a statement.

The event received an overwhelming response and was shifted Preston announced on Instagram.

The growing outcry by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and allies since the release earlier this month of the Netflix Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer, regarding transphobic and other anti-LGBTQ innuendo and statements by the comedian escalated after the company suspended one of its Trans employees.

After the special aired, Terra Field, an Out Trans Netflix senior software engineer based in San Francisco, posted a series of tweets that expressed anger over Chappelle’s blatant transphobia.

Field in her Twitter thread countered the position laid out by Sarandos, pointing out that Chappelle’s promoting the kind of ideology and speech can result in real-world consequences especially death for Trans people. 

The situation was further enflamed when the company terminated a Black organizer of the pending October 20 walkout by its Trans employees. The employee, “who is Black and currently pregnant, asked not to be named for fear of online harassment.”

Netflix Inc. Co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos sparked internal dissent he defended the special and said it wouldn’t translate to real-world harm.

Sarandos later said he “screwed up” in his efforts to communicate with the workers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ahead of the walkout, Netflix issued a statement saying: “We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that’s been caused. We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content.”

“Stand Up in Solidarity,” will present co-CEO Ted Sarandos with a list of “firm asks” after the demonstration and the protest will feature a PSA from stars including Angelica Ross, Jonathan Van Ness, Jameela Jamil, Eureka O’Hara and Colton Haynes.

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Netflix terminates organizer of Trans employee walkout

The employee terminated on Friday was alleged to have disclosed an internal Netflix document regarding metrics on Chappelle’s special

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LOS GATOS, Ca. – Vox Media’s ‘The Verge’ magazine is reporting that streaming giant Netflix has terminated a Black organizer of the pending October 20 walkout by its Trans employees Friday. According to the magazine, the employee, “who is Black and currently pregnant, asked not to be named for fear of online harassment.”

The growing outcry by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and allies since the release last week of the Netflix Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer, regarding transphobic and other anti-LGBTQ innuendo and statements by the comedian escalated on Monday after the company suspended one of its Trans employees.

After the special aired, Terra Field, an Out Trans Netflix senior software engineer based in San Francisco, posted a series of tweets that expressed anger over Chappelle’s blatant transphobia.

Field in her Twitter thread countered the position laid out by Sarandos, pointing out that Chappelle’s promoting the kind of ideology and speech can result in real-world consequences especially death for Trans people. 

The employee terminated on Friday was alleged to have disclosed an internal Netflix document regarding metrics on Chappelle’s special including about how much the streaming company paid for and how many people it reached in the various market penetrations.

That data was part of a report by Bloomberg Wednesday. The Verge reported that “While the employee had shared the metrics internally, they spoke out against the leaks to colleagues, worried they might hurt the walkout movement.”

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the employees’ dismissal to the magazine saying; “We have let go of an employee for sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company,” they said. “We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company.”

Adding more fuel to the ongoing controversy in a memorandum to the company’s staff members obtained by entertainment trade news magazine Variety, sent last week by Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the company executive defended Chappelle.

“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date,” Sarandos wrote. “”As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful.” 

The company’s intransigence was the catalyst for the call for the walkout by Netflix Trans employees.

As reported by The Verge, a leader of the streamer’s trans employee resource group wrote the following in a message to members: “Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter. And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”

The Blade spoke with Emmy and Peabody award winning journalist Imara Jones, the creator of TransLash Media, a cross-platform journalism, personal storytelling and narrative project, which produces content to shift the current culture of hostility towards transgender people.

Jones said Friday’s actions clearly underscores the transphobic environment of the company, especially as ” co-CEO Ted Sarandos has very much been vocal about his views regarding Dave Chappelle.”

“The problem is plainly that they don’t see Trans people as real human beings,” she said and added. “They see Trans people as ‘fake.'”

“This underscores the work that needs to be done- it shows the true values of Netflix and its corporate hypocrisy on Trans and LGBTQ issues,” Jones said.

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