Mo’Nique’s allegations of shady gender wage practices at Netflix and subsequent call to boycott the streaming giant may have been met with some serious side eyes, but there is one aspect of the company’s leadership that can’t be denied: There are absolutely no people of color in any positions of considerable power.
This fact was highlighted on Monday by journalist Yashar Ali a few hours after Netflix announced that it named Rodolphe Belmer to its board of directors. The group, which became 70 percent male with the addition of Belmer, remained all-White.
Its no surprise that diversity in Silicon Valley has long been elusive, but what’s especially egregious about this case is that Netflix has an active “inclusion & diversity” pledge that it seemingly refuses to uphold – at least not among upper management and corporate leadership. With no shortage of experienced Black job candidates in tech, Netflix seems to have some explaining to do.
A message seeking comment from Netflix was not immediately returned.
Not surprisingly, Netflix recently came under fire for apparent racial missteps with its film, “Bright,” which backfired in its attempt to tackle the topic of racist discrimination, according to Chance the Rapper.
“I always feel a lil cheated when I see allegorical racism in movies cause that racism usually stems from human emotion or tolerance but not by law or systems the way it is in real life,” the rapper said late last year in a series of tweets.
Another hit Netflix show, “Stranger Things,” has also been labeled as racist in an opinion piece on NBC News.
More recently, it was reported that the now-disgraced star of Netflix’s hit show “House of Cards” used the N-word on set and refused to interact with Black workers while he was filming the show. If true, that would place a lot of responsibility, if not all of it, on the shoulders of Netflix for not fostering a more racially welcoming workplace.
To be fair, Netflix has also been called “racist” by its White viewership on more than one occasion. But then again, White people pulling the race card in a world that they control could be another reason to advocate for diverse leadership to tell them reverse racism is just not a real thing.
While there is progress being made in baby steps on the diversity in tech front – Facebook just this week caved to the pressure and finally named the first Black person to its board of directors in its nearly 14 year existence – it was unclear if that slow-growing trend would ever convince Netflix to get with the program. But in 2018, after we’ve had a Black president followed by an openly racist one, there are no longer any excuses for Netflix to lean on.