Netflix has hired Rachel Whetstone as its new Chief Communications Officer, filling the role left vacant after the streaming giant fired Jonathan Friedland in June for using the N-word on two separate occasions.
Whetstone is a high-profile get, coming over from Facebook which had created a VP Communications role for her to oversee the WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger teams. She had arrived there in July 2017 from top comms roles at Uber and Instagram.
Netflix said Whetstone will be responsible for leading communications on a global basis.
“Rachel is a proven communications leader and a strong addition to the Netflix team,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a release announcing the hire. “Her deep knowledge and international expertise will be invaluable as we bring Netflix and its expanding lineup of original content to an increasingly global audience.”
Said Whetstone: “I’m so excited to be joining Netflix and being part of this amazing company’s story.”
Whetstone joined Google in 2005 and was SVP Communications and Public Policy there from 2010-2015. She held the same position at Uber from 2015-2017 before joining Facebook.
Friedland was ousted from Netflix after seven years after word surfaced that he used the N-word in two instances — once in a PR meeting about sensitive words and again a few days later. Friedland apologized after the first occasion after several people told him how inappropriate and hurtful his use of the term was, Hastings said in a memo.
But, Hastings added, the second time was enough.
“The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go,” Hastings wrote. “As I reflect on this, at the first incident, I should have done more to use it as a learning moment for everyone at Netflix about how painful and ugly that word is.”