Netflix Comms Officer Out After Using Racial Epithet

Jonathan Friedland, Netflix's chief communications officer, was fired after using the "N-word" at least twice at work. CEO Reed Hastings sent an email to employees explaining the situation:

“Several people afterwards told him how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the N-word was..."  “We hoped this was an awful anomaly never to be repeated.” “The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now." "[I should]...have done more to use it as a learning moment for everyone at Netflix about how painful and ugly that word is, and that it should not be used.” “Depending on where you live or grew up in the world, understanding and sensitivities around the history and use of the N-word can vary.” “For nonblack people, the word should not be spoken as there is almost no context in which it is appropriate or constructive (even when singing a song or reading a script). There is not a way to neutralize the emotion and history behind the word in any context.”

The first incident was during a PR meeting on the topic of sensitive words. It's unclear when and how the word was used the second time.

For his part, Friedland apologized on Twitter.




  • What's your view of the situation and Friedland's use of the word? Consider that we don't have all of the context.
  • Given what little we know, should Friedland have been fired?
  • How does this situation potentially demonstrate a lack of humility?