Associated Press issues correction on photo of Netflix counter-protester

The Associated Press issued a correction on Thursday for a photograph they took during the protests outside Netflix. 

On Wednesday, dozens of Netflix employees and supporters gathered outside the steaming giant’s Los Angeles headquarters to protest comedian Dave Chappelle’s new standup special over comments he made about transgender people. 

Before the protest, news outlets reported that as many as 1,000 employees would walk out in protest. However, official numbers later put the number of overall protesters to just over 100 people with only “dozens” of employees leaving.

Writer Jesse Singal noted that the 1,000 employees walking out claim was based on an anonymous source.

NETFLIX PROTESTERS FURIOUS OVER CHAPELLE SPECIAL ATTACK MAN WITH ‘WE LIKE DAVE’ SIGN 

“It looks like the ‘1,000 Netflix employees are walking out’ meme can be traced to one anonymous source in THR and was then treated as true by everyone, because journalists don’t really journalize anymore,” Singal tweeted.

Dave Briggs holds a placard as he attends a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout "Stand Up in Solidarity" to protest the streaming of comedian Dave Chappelle?s new comedy special, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 20 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Dave Briggs holds a placard as he attends a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout “Stand Up in Solidarity” to protest the streaming of comedian Dave Chappelle?s new comedy special, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 20 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
(REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Inaccurate reporting continued about the story when news outlets reported that counter-protestors became physical and threatening

Variety published a series of tweets in which the entertainment site described a tense situation where counter-protestors pushed trans speakers. 

“At times, the #NetflixWalkout situation threatened to devolve as counter protestors pushed against trans speakers,” Variety tweeted. Eventually the tweet was deleted.

However, Twitter users noted that the photo used in the tweet referenced an encounter where protesters were accosting a counter-protester and damaged his sign.

The original video of the encounter that circulated throughout social media showed several protesters crowding around a man holding a sign reading “We Like Dave.” The protesters then proceeded to break the sign, leaving the man with only a stick. After lifting the stick, protesters began shouting “He has a weapon!”

“I’m just here to say that jokes are funny people” the man explained. “Dave Chapelle is a funny guy.”

Drag queen Eureka O'Hara speaks to a counter protester during a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout

Drag queen Eureka O’Hara speaks to a counter protester during a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout “Stand Up in Solidarity” to protest the streaming of comedian Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 20 2021. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
(REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

The man was later identified as comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi who was heavily featured in several photos covering the protest. In one photo from the Associated Press, Gesualdi noted that picture depicted him as the aggressor in its caption.

“‘Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi screams profanities as he engages with peaceful protesters begging him to leave.’ Screams profanities? Dude, I just yelled ‘I love Dave Chappelle!’ The media sucks!” Gesualdi tweeted.

The photo along with its caption was used as a stock photo by several news sites for coverage of the protest.

Several hours later, the Associated Press issued a correction writing “corrects caption to remove reference to Gesualdi using profanities which he did not do at the moment the image was made. Also removes reference to protesters being peaceful because one protester destroyed his sign.”

The new caption reads “Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi shouts at people protesting against Dave Chapelle’s Netflix special outside the Netflix building in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.”

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While footage of Gesualdi being accosted by protesters is available online, there is as of yet no video suggesting Gesualdi hurled profanities against protesters.

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