Netflix Executive Communications Director Jonathan Friedland. Picture: Marco Ugarte/AP

Washington - Netflix has fired its communications boss for using the "N-word," the Hollywood Reporter wrote on Friday, citing an internal memo sent by the company's CEO Reed Hastings.

Jonathan Friedland, who joined the streaming service in 2011, was fired for "his descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work," Reed wrote in the memo which was published in full by the entertainment news website.

The incidents showed "unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity" and were "not in line with our values as a company," he continued in the memo, which was sent around midday on Friday.

Friedland confirmed his dismissal on Twitter, writing, "I'm leaving Netflix after seven years. 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," he added.

Reed said Friedland first used the N-word at a PR meeting several months ago about sensitive words. Several people told him afterwards that his use of the word had been inappropriate and he apologised.

However he used it again a few days after the first incident in a meeting with black employees from HR who were "trying to help him deal with the original offense," Reed said.

The second incident, which Reed said he only found out about this week, "confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now."