BoJack Horseman’s creator, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, has recently taken a stand and addressed the controversy surrounding comedian Dave Chappell after his stand-up special was released on the streaming platform, Netflix.
Raphael Bob-Waksberg shared a scene from his successful animated series that streams on Netflix. The scene was asked to be removed "because they were worried it might upset David Fincher." Raphael wrote on his Twitter, "Still mystified that apparently Dave Chappelle’s deal is that he says whatever he wants and Netflix just has to air it, unedited. Is that normal for comedians? Because Netflix once asked me to change a joke because they were worried it might upset David Fincher."
The creator of "BoJack Horseman" further tweeted that he would release the "controversial" scene for the audience if 100 people responded to his tweet with a picture of a donation made to Trans Lifeline, a non-profit organization that supports trans people in crisis. According to Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s tweet, there was more than $2,000 donation made to the Trans Lifelines after which the creator of the animated series released the "controversial" scene, which when read is described as "fairly vanilla".
It has been noted that Netflix usually provides minimal feedback, ideas, or notes to the top creator’s projects, and after the controversy involving Dave Chappell’s stand-up special, Raphael states that at that time he was happy to receive feedback from Netflix, but now he feels that the Fincher scene was "dumb."
Raphael further added, "My point was it’s silly for a network to pretend their hands are tied when it comes to the content they put on their network. Good pushback and feedback (if it’s good!) makes art better, and if you, as a network, don’t know how to give it, you might as well be throwing your money down the toilet. For a comedian who famously walked away from his hit TV show because he was worried he was Making Things Worse, it’s remarkable how many of his fans (and collaborators!) believe comedians have no responsibility to not Make Things Worse."
Raphael’s release of the David Fincher scene is a significant moment for people who truly believe that Trans lives matter because it is important to stand up for the people who have been neglected for a very long time and have been fighting constantly to earn their respect and much-needed space in the industry. Shows like "I am Cait," "RuPaul's Drag Race," "Orange is the New Black". etc., are significant because they make the audience see the lives of the people who have been neglected all this time.
With changing times and the mindsets of the people and celebrities being the barrier of change, much more acceptance of trans artists and people is needed in the industry so that other trans people who don’t have the courage and desire to work for themselves have a role model or someone to look up to who looks just like them. The change is happening slowly as there are parts for trans people being written and played by actual trans people, but slow is the keyword here.
Trace Lysette shared in an interview with IndieWire, "It’s kind of embarrassing, but it’s very telling of how hard it is to be a trans woman in this industry. It’s an odd thing when you walk down the street and people come up to you with tears in their eyes regarding your work and tell you how much your representation means to them. And then you look at your bank account, and it’s like, "What the fuck is happening?" It’s not adding up, literally." Laverne Cox shared in an interview, "The truth is that, as blessed as some of us are and have been, a lot of us are still struggling. I heard a story about a trans woman who was on a show and some crew members were misgendering her and kind of giggling, and she heard it while she was working. That is not something any actress should hear when they’re working. Acting is hard enough. "
Sometimes some of the trans actors who are extremely talented and perfect for the role are sidelined because they want the script or the dialogues said by them to do justice to their community, which speaks a lot about how they are working hard to take up their space in the industry. Some extremely talented and critically appreciated actors who are proud trans people include Elliot Page, Laverne Cox, Isis King, Valentina Sampaio, Zaya Wade, Caitlyn Jenner, Hunter Schafer, Alex Blue Davis.
Alex Blue Davis portrays intern Casey on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and the makers have been open about how the creators had to work and re-work on the storyline for the character so that they can do justice to the community. In one particular scene, Casey says to Dr. Bailey played by actress Chandra Wilson, “I’m a proud trans man, Dr. Bailey. I like for people to get to know me before they find out my medical history.”
Showrunner, Krista Vernoff shared with The Hollywood Reporter, “We worked very hard and very closely with Alex and [LGBTQ advocacy group] GLAAD on this storyline. The scene in which Casey disclosed to Bailey that he was a ‘proud trans man’ was rewritten more times than anything else — we wanted it exactly right. We wanted the audience to get to know this character before they knew his private medical information; we wanted his disclosure to not feel like an ‘A-ha!’ shock but a genuine unfolding of this character’s truth when he felt safe with someone.”
Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s decision to stand up against Netflix’s decision to move ahead with Dave Chappell’s stand-up special even though it has received a significant amount of backlash, especially from the LGBTQ community, showcases that now people are not afraid to speak their opinions out in the world.