“Do you see where I am going with this. In our country you can shoot and kill a n***a, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings”.
Dave Chappelle has spoken for the first time about the controversy surrounding his latest special, which was branded “transphobic” by the LGBTQ+ community. In a video posted on his Instagram, the three-time Grammy Award winner said that he is not against the LGBTQ+ community, but is concerned about freedom of expression.
“I did not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this s**t. This has nothing to do with them. It’s about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say”, he said.
The 48-year-old comedian then revealed that after the controversy started film companies and movie festivals started “cancelling” him and refused to screen his upcoming documentary. At the same time, Chappelle stressed that he will not be “bending to anybody’s demands”.
“If you want to meet with me, I’ll be more than willing to but I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing, at a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny”, he said.
Gadsby is an Australian queer comedian and a queer woman.
Dave Chappelle also dismissed reports saying that he allegedly refused to meet with transgender employees of Netflix, who staged a walkout in protest against his special.
“[Those reports] are not true, if they had invited me, I would have accepted [the invitation], although I am confused about what we’re speaking about. I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?”, the 48-year-old said.
Chappelle’s latest special “The Closer” is part of a series of shows he released on Netflix, all of them became some of the company’s most viewed stand-up programmes. While in previous specials the comedian touched on a number of issues from US politics to his private life, in “The Closer” Chappelle focused on his relationship with the LGBTQ community, including their discontent with some of his material.
At one point, Chappelle even joked about rapper DaBaby, who has come under harsh criticism over his homophobic remarks and was dropped by major music festivals.
“A lot of the LGBTQ community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history. He is a wild guy. He once shot a n***a and killed him, in Walmart. Oh, this is true. Google it. DaBaby shot and killed a n***a in Walmart in North Carolina. Nothing bad happened to his career. Do you see where I am going with this. In our country you can shoot and kill a n***a, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings”.
Later in the special, the comedian joked about transgender individuals’ genitals, gender-neutral pronouns, and cheekily called himself a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) before expressing sympathy for British writer JK Rowling over criticism she received for her comments about the eradication “the concept of gender”. During the show, the comedian repeated several times that he supports the LGBTQ community.
Despite this, the special caused a torrent of negative comments on social media as well as from Netflix employees. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has defended Chappelle amid the wave of criticism, saying the company works hard to support “creative freedom”. He stressed that Chappelle’s comments do not amount to hate speech and do not “directly translate to real-world harm”.