Netflix fired its chief communications officer on Friday afternoon, after he said the n-word twice during meetings in just a few days.
A memo was sent to employees at the streaming giant to announce Jonathan Friedland's departure, due to his "unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity".
Co-founder Reed Hastings explained in the memo, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, that while the incident had occurred 'several months ago' he had only heard about the second offense recently, reports Daily Mail.
He told employees in the first instance, Friedland had been in a PR meeting about sensitive words when he first said the word. He was later told his use of the word was "inappropriate and hurtful", and Friedland apologized.
Hastings said he was alerted only this week to a second incident, which took place just days after the first, where Friedland had used the word again - to two black employees in HR who were trying to help him deal with the first offense.
"The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now," he wrote.
He ended the memo by commending Friendland for his achievements at the company and his assistance in turning the brand into a global entity.
"Jonathan has been a great contributor and he built a diverse global team creating awareness for Netflix, strengthening our reputation around the world, and helping make us into the successful company we are today," he wrote.
"Many of us have worked closely with Jonathan for a long time, and have mixed emotions. Unfortunately, his lack of judgment in this area was too big for him to remain.
"We care deeply about our employees feeling safe and supported at Netflix."
Friedland took to Twitter not long after his abrupt exit from the Netflix offices to apologize for the "distress this lapse caused".
"I'm leaving Netflix after seven years," he wrote.
"Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy.
"I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated.
"I feel honored to have built a brilliant and diverse global team and to have been part of this collective adventure."
He later wrote in a tweet that was quickly deleted: "Thanks. Rise high, fall fast. All on a couple of words..."
Friedland, a former journalist of more than 20 years, joined Netflix in 2011 after leaving Walt Disney Co, where he was the senior vice president of communications.
He was quickly promoted to chief communications officer at Netflix and held the top job for six years.