Netflix PR chief exits over insensitive remarks

Netflix Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland is leaving the company following a controversy over insensitive remarks.
Friedland announced the departure on Twitter Friday, saying that he felt awful about “the distress this lapse caused.”

Friedland had joined Netflix as VP of communications in 2011, and became the company’s chief communications officer a year later. His ascend at the company coincided with Netflix’s first major PR debacle, the proposed split of its DVD business into a separate company called Quickster — a plan that Netflix quickly walked back.

Before joining Netflix, Friedland had served in communications roles for Disney. He was a journalist by trade before crossing over to work in communications, and worked for a decade for The Wall Street Journal, where he served as Los Angeles bureau chief.

A Netflix spokesperson referred Variety to Friedland’s Twitter statement, saying that the company didn’t have anything further to add. There is no word on any possible replacement.

Friedland’s departure comes at a time of success for Netflix, which has been beating market expectations over the past quarters, and now has over 125 million subscribers worldwide.

This week, Netflix’s stock price surpassed $400 for the first time in the company’s history. On Friday, Netflix’s stock closed at $411.09, down $4.35, or around 1 percent.

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