Netflix is making sure an incident like the one with former chief spokesman Jonathan Friedland, who was fired over saying the N-word in a Netflix meeting, never happens again. The company has hired Vernā Myers as vice president of inclusion strategy.
According to the official release about Myers' new role, she will "help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of Netflix's operations worldwide."
"For the past two decades, through The Vernā Myers Company, she has consulted with a wide range of major corporations and organizations on how to help eradicate barriers based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and other differences and to make more just, compassionate and productive work environments," the release states.
Netflix's chief talent officer Jessica Neal spoke highly of Myers' experience in a statement for the release. “Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” Neal said. “As a global company dedicated to attracting the best people and representing a broad range of perspectives, Vernā will be an invaluable champion of our efforts to build a culture where all employees thrive.”
In another statement, Myers talked about her love of Netflix and her new job with the streaming service. "I have been a longtime fan of the inclusive and diverse programming and talent at Netflix, and then I got a chance to meet the people behind the screen," she said according to the release. "I was so impressed by their mission, their excellence and decision to take their inclusion and diversity efforts to a higher level. I am so excited and look forward to collaborating all across Netflix to establish bold innovative frameworks and practices that will attract, fully develop and sustain high performing diverse teams."
This isn't the first time a company has hired a diversity executive, but it is quite notable for Netflix since this hiring gives weight to its appearance of genuinely supporting diverse content. As has been mentioned before, Netflix has put considerable effort into its Strong Black Lead initiative that encourages and uplifts black creators and actors both at Netflix and in Hollywood. A mistake like Friedland's could have put the service's efforts to court black viewers and talent into jeopardy, making the initiative seem more about money rather than genuine support. But, by hiring Myers, it shows Netflix is firm about being seen as a place where everyone is welcome as viewers and as employees.