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Thomas Gallatin / May 17, 2022

Netflix Memo to Employees: Get Tolerant or Get Lost

Big Business might just be seeing that going woke is bad for the bottom line.

There’s a reason members of the Millennial generation are often referred to as snowflakes — they struggle to deal with anyone or any idea that dares to cross their emotionally laden sensitivities. Some Millennials are as bad as two-year-olds who throw a temper tantrum over being told “no.” Generation Z is perhaps even more of a problem in this regard.

However, in many ways it’s worse than that. Even the concept that something which offends their sensibilities is allowed to exist is a bridge too far, an “evil” that must be removed. It’s not enough simply to avoid people, ideas, or views that may offend them; no, the snowflake generations demand that the offending idea or party must be expunged from society, or canceled, as is the current parlance of the day.

The great irony behind such authoritarian instincts is that they run directly counter to the liberal ideology out of which the progressive Left came. If there was anything liberals of the past held as a foundational principle, it was freedom of speech and tolerance. Today’s Left has completely rejected such free speech absolutism. Now, speech must be controlled because speech is “dangerous.”

Thankfully, that is not the majority opinion of Americans, who still value the First Amendment. That may be why Netflix, which has been bleeding subscribers over the last couple months, recently issued a memo to employees that free speech would be prioritized over censorship.

The memo lays out a rather sensible suggestion, which to the average American sounds like basic common sense: “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.” That statement would have most of us saying, Of course. But once again, consider the generations being addressed. In some ways, this statement must have come across like a slap across the face.

The memo further and ever-so-gently explains the above rationale: “Entertaining the world is an amazing opportunity and also a challenge because viewers have very different tastes and points of view. So we offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies, some of which can be provocative. … We support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with … [and] we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

What a novel idea — let the customers decide what they would like to watch. In a free society, the market makes the call. If Netflix wants to provide content that only expresses a woke leftist ideology, then so be it. As a private company, it has every right to make that call, though as company execs know, Netflix is a business and the goal is to make money. And if the product or service being provided is rejected by the customer, well, that company may not be long for this world. “Get woke, go broke.”

It appears that Netflix is seeking to avoid that fate. Disney made a big mistake in getting too political and going after the state of Florida for daring to stand up for parental rights. The good news about this memo from Netflix, which does a lot of business in neighboring Georgia, is that it indicates that Governor Ron DeSantis’s decision to not be bullied by Disney and instead to hit back is paying dividends for Americans’ constitutional rights.

Conservatives might just be winning the cultural argument in favor of free speech.

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