Netflix co-founder and Democratic megadonor calls for Biden to step aside


Reed Hastings, the co-founder of Netflix and a Democratic party megadonor, has called for Joe Biden to take himself out of the presidential race following his disastrous performance at last week’s debate against Donald Trump.

Hastings told the New York Times on Wednesday that the president “needs to step aside to allow a vigorous Democratic leader to beat Trump and keep us safe and prosperous”.

The statement makes Hastings one of the first major Democratic donors to speak out as pressure mounts on the president, 81, to step down over concerns he is not up to the job.

The White House has denied reports that donors and allies with in the Democratic party are urging him to drop out of the presidential race.

But by Wednesday, two House Democrats had publicly called for Biden to withdraw his candidacy and a third said he had “grave concerns” about Biden’s ability to beat Trump. Biden is facing escalating pressure as a post-debate poll found that one in three Democrats believes he should quit. At a campaign event earlier this week, Biden blamed his poor debate performance on his busy international travel leading up to the event, saying he “nearly fell asleep on stage”.

Some Democratic party officials have privately suggested that vice-president Kamala Harris should take his place, according to several reports.

Related: Kamala Harris: insiders rally behind VP to replace Biden as Democratic nominee

Hastings, a billionaire entrepreneur credited with ushering in the streaming era, stepped down as Netflix CEO last year.

Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, were prolific supporters of the Democratic party during the Trump administration and have donated more than $20m in recent years, including roughly $1.5m to Biden during his 2020 campaign, according to the New York Times. The couple donated $100,000 last year toward Biden’s re-election efforts.

Hastings has also donated to historically Black colleges and universities and recently gave more than $1bn worth of his Netflix shares to a Silicon Valley charity.

Reid Hoffman, another influential billionaire donor, continued to throw his weight behind Biden after the debate, telling his donor network in an email that he felt it was counterproductive to be “musing on Biden’s flaws” and that they should be “organizing around Trump’s flaws”.

The Biden campaign said this week that it raised $38m after the debate.



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