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Netflix Co-Founder Becomes One of the Biggest Democratic Donors to Call for Biden to Step Aside

Reed Hastings, the Netflix co-founder who in recent years has become one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party, called on Wednesday for President Biden to relinquish his place atop of the Democratic presidential ticket.

Mr. Hastings became one of the first to say publicly what many Democratic megadonors are saying privately. “Biden needs to step aside to allow a vigorous Democratic leader to beat Trump and keep us safe and prosperous,” he said in an email with The Times.

Mr. Biden and White House officials have said he has no plans to step aside. But Mr. Hastings’s public statements represent another crack in the armor in the president’s foundation of support.

Mr. Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, during the Trump era joined the Democratic Party’s most generous donor couples. Together they have given more than $20 million to support the party over the last few years, including as much as $1.5 million to back Mr. Biden during the 2020 presidential race, and $100,000 last summer to support Mr. Biden in 2024. Most of their donations have gone to super PACs meant to help House and Senate Democrats.

Some leaders in Hollywood, which just toasted Mr. Biden at a splashy fund-raiser last month, are beginning to go public about their misgivings. On Tuesday, the power agent Ari Emanuel expressed his own frustrations.

The political issue that Mr. Hastings has long been closely associated with is education reform, while Ms. Quillin has placed a particular emphasis on racial justice. Mr. Hastings had a close relationship as of late with Gov. Gavin Newsom of California — who is one of the people being discussed as a potential replacement for Mr. Biden — donating $3 million in 2021 to help Mr. Newsom defeat the recall election he faced.

Mr. Hastings helped found Netflix almost three decades ago, and is now its executive chair. In January 2023, he relinquished the chief executive role in part so he could spend more time on his philanthropy, politics and on his true passion, skiing.

Rebecca Davis O’Brien contributed reporting.

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