Netflix shares closed lower in the US on Friday as news broke that the company’s CEO fired its head of communications for his use of unacceptable language. Jonathon Friedland was fired from the company after using the banned ‘n’ word on at least two occasions.
Over the weekend, Netflix then shared a new brand image spot, highlighting all the black artists who work for the firm, across all levels of its business.
Netflix shares closed 1.05% lower at $411.09 in the US Friday. The stock is also lower in after-hours activity.
Netflix CEO fires senior staff member
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took the decision Friday to fire his director of communications, Friedland, after he used the ‘n’ word at least twice in meetings.
“I’ve made a decision to let go of Jonathan Friedland,” Reed wrote in a memo to staff.
“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,” Reed said.
The Netflix CEO goes on to say how importance inclusion is for the firm and that it will work towards helping educate all its employees about that.
Friedland confirmed the action in a tweet:
“I’m leaving Netflix after seven years. 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,” he wrote on Twitter.
Netflix celebrates diversity with brand image spot
Following this incident, Netflix unveiled a new brand image spot showcasing its black employees. It was called “A great day in Hollywood” and was inspired by “A great day in Harlem” photograph from 1958.
The new spot wasn’t a response to the firing of Friedman as the project had been in the works for some months. However, the timing of it is poignant as it highlights 47 black employees, including writers, runners, producers and actors who work for and with Netflix.