Director and writer Aaron Sorkin defended Netflix's decision to keep a controversial Dave Chapelle special on its streaming platform, and compared banning books to banning people.

“My play, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ had to shut down along with everyone else a year ago March, when Covid came along, and during that year and a half, five different school districts in the country banned the teaching of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ along with ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘Of Mice and Men,’” Sorkin said in an interview published in The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

“And people will point out to me, ‘Well, they use the N-word in To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Isn’t it better to have a discussion in class about this? Isn’t it an opportunity to talk about that word and why that word is almost holy in its power?” he asked. 

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While Sorkin said he did not agree with many of the points Chappelle made in his special, he defended the streaming company’s choice to keep it on their platform despite the blowback it received.

“Banning books, banning people. Now, I want to be clear, it’s one thing if someone is spreading dangerous misinformation or if because of someone’s speech, people are getting beaten up or worse, that’s entirely different,” Sorkin said. “But just someone offending you? I just think that’s the cost of doing business in a free society.”

Sorkin’s comments come after Netflix earlier this year released a Chappelle special, called “The Closer,” in which he said "I'm Team TERF!" — referring to trans-exclusionary radical feminists — and claimed that “gender is a fact.”

In response, Netflix employees staged a walkout to protest the special and show their solidarity within the trans community.

Chappelle, however, has refused to apologize for his comments. 

"I say what I said, and, boy, I heard what you said. Oh, my God. How could I not?" Chappelle said to an audience in a video posted on Instagram in October.