A great many conservatives are probably wondering how far certain big corporations are willing to go to appease the extreme left’s woke agenda, even at the cost of their own financial stability and share prices. How many customers are they really willing to shed in favor of kowtowing to a relatively small number of shrieking zealots who have taken grievance culture to its extreme? The list of those companies is disturbingly long, but one of them may have seen the writing on the wall and decided recently to give its team a dose of reality. In order to save the sinking ship, the streaming movie and TV service Netflix could be launching a new special, just for its employees – The Unwokening: Get over it or get another job.
Make no mistake, the people running the streaming service haven’t been “red pilled,” but they may have concluded that fully embracing woke ideology will increasingly restrict the content they can offer, as well as limiting the audience to which they would appeal.
Thus, on May 12, Netflix updated its corporate culture document, entitled “Netflix Culture – Seeking Excellence,” to include a new section under the heading Artistic Expression. In three short paragraphs, this part of the text, aimed at its employees, acknowledges that “viewers have very different tastes and points of view” and that Netflix will “offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies, some of which can be provocative.”
Kudos to whatever team came up with the statement – assuming the company really does stick to these ideals – for it has stumbled upon a truly marvelous and, until now, unknown concept; let people decide what they want to watch. Incredible:
“Not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”
Then, like a boxer circling his opponent before throwing the knockout punch, the policymakers at Netflix went in for the proverbial kill. “As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values.” But that was just the jab. Here comes the uppercut: “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”
So a polite, corporate-speak way of saying, suck it up, buttercup, or move along. Perhaps the bosses over at Netflix thought their people had it coming after employees walked out in protest over a special by comedian Dave Chappelle that some critics described as “homophobic” and “transphobic.”
Go Woke and Go Broke?
The problem with going woke is that it’s a minefield. What is perfectly acceptable today could be branded racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic – insert any other alleged phobia here – by next week. The radicals driving this bizarre new cultural phenomenon constantly raise the bar for what is acceptable, or move the goalposts, or burn down the entire stadium and rebuild it somewhere else. Even leftists have found themselves burned in the fires of sanctimonious virtue for a casual remark on Twitter or, if they are famous for whatever reason, on a talk show or during a podcast.
Depending on their respective business models and what goods or services they provide, some companies may be able to operate within the ever-shifting rules of woke. For a corporation that survives on streaming entertainment content, though, living up to those almost impossible standards of never offending anyone – except straight, white conservatives – at any time, while pandering to a minority that seeks nothing less than the destruction of all traditional values may be a bridge too far.
How many other business entities eventually turn their backs on the radical left’s cultural Marxism is likely dependent upon how many customers are willing to tune out, turn off, stop buying the product or using the service. Conservatives, particularly, seem more and more willing to spend their dollars elsewhere if they know a company is toeing the progressive line, and so, in the end, the free market may be what kills corporate America’s flirtation with woke ideology.