Netflix communications chief out after “insensitive” remark

Jonathan Friedland of Netflix on September 9, 2011, in Bogota, Colombia.

Felipe Caicedo/ Getty for Netflix

Jonathan Friedland, the top communications spokesperson at Netflix, is leaving the company after making what he called “insensitive” remarks during a company meeting. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Friedland used the n-word and some employees present later reported the incident.

Friedland acknowledged part of the incident on Twitter. “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.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sent a company-wide email explaining Friedland’s departure on Friday afternoon, the website reported, citing sources.

In the email, Hastings said that while Friedland contributed in many areas, his “descriptive” use of the n-word on at least two occasions “showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company.”

Friedland joined the streaming service in 2011 from The Walt Disney Company where he worked as the senior vice president of corporate communications. Before his stint with Disney, he spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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