Dave Chappelle, whose comments about transgender people led to a furious backlash from the LGBTQ community, has said he will ‘not bend to anyone’s demands’ over what he can and cannot say.
In recent weeks, comedian has faced calls for him to be cancelled following jokes made in a stand-up special for the streaming service, Netflix.
Chappelle courted controversy with his jokes in which he asserts ‘gender is a fact,’ and criticizes what he says is the thin skin of the trans community.
The jokes were based upon earlier observations made by Harry Potter author J K Rowling’s who in 2019 stated that transgender women were not actually women and were a threat to her identity.
Comedian Dave Chappelle, 48, together with Netflix has faced backlash from the LGBTQ community for remarks made in his latest special
On Monday, Chapelle spoke out for the first time about the controversy in a five minute video which was posted to Instagram.
‘To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me,’ Chapelle stated in a a five-minute posting. ‘I am not bending to anyone’s demands, and if you want to meet with me, I am more than willing to, but I have some conditions…’ Chappelle said in a segment which was filmed onstage.
‘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.
‘Am I canceled or not? Then let’s go!’ Chappelle yells at the end of the video.
In an Instagram video on Monday, Chapelle said he was open to meeting with the transgender community but they had to have watched his special beforehand
Chappelle, 48, has been accused of transphobia in previous Netflix specials.
In The Closer he is at pains to stress that he does not hate transgender people, and tells a long anecdote about a trans woman comic, who he describes as a friend, who came to his defense in earlier entanglements with the community.
Chappelle adds: ‘Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is a fact.’
In the contentious special, Chappelle also jokes that women today view transwomen the same way black people might view white women wearing blackface, and remarked that women are entitled to feel anger toward transwomen, since Caitlyn Jenner won Glamour magazine’s 2015 Woman of the Year award.
‘I’d be mad as sh*t if I was a woman,’ Chappelle says during a problematic bit.
The star also jokes about the anatomy of transwomen in the special, joking that they lacked real female reproductive organs and that they did not have blood but ‘beet juice.
It has been almost three weeks since the controversy began which saw some staff suspended and others fired in the fallout.
Chappelle’s comments and Netflix’s refusal to pull the comedy special, The Closer, led to protests on the streets of Hollywood.
Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, initially defended Chappelle and said that it did not ‘cross the line’ on hate speech, despite various organizations including GLAAD and National Black Justice Coalition condemning the comedian’s comments along with a number of trans Netflix employees.
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos has defended Dave Chappelle’s The Closer special to his staff, telling them in an email ‘content on screen doesn’t translate to real-world harm’. Lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby, right, who has two comedy specials on Netflix, rose to fame after her first special Nanette began streaming on Netflix in 2018
Dave Chappelle continues to face backlash over the controversial contents of his latest Netflix special which critics say were transphobic
But last week Sarandos appeared to soften his stance:
‘I screwed up the internal communication — and I don’t mean just mechanically,’ Sarandos said. ‘I feel I should’ve made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should’ve recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through. I say that because I respect them deeply, and I love the contribution they have at Netflix. They were hurting, and I should’ve recognized that first.’
Sarandos said that Netflix ‘was working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story’ specifically noting ‘we have Sex Education, Orange Is the New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.’
Gadsby, who has two comedy specials on Netflix, rose to fame after her first special Nanette began streaming on Netflix in 2018.
She posted on Instagram asking Sarandos not to ‘drag [her] name into [his] mess.’
‘F**k you and your amoral algorithm cult…’ she wrote.
Those who have criticized Chapelle’s jokes have specifically cited the physical danger faced by the trans community as a result of anti-trans ideology.
The family of a trans woman who Chappelle said was hounded to death for defending his jokes in a 2019 Netflix show have slammed the woke mob trying to cancel him, saying they do not know how much he did for her.
The Closer is Chappelle’s last stand up special on Netflix before he takes a break
Daphne Dorman, 44, was a transgender amateur comic opened for comedian Dave Chappelle
Daphne Dorman was 44 when she killed herself in 2019 after defending her friend Chappelle for jokes made during a Netflix special that year.
‘When she did that, the trans community dragged that b**** through Twitter,’ Chappelle told the audience in The Closer.
‘For days, they was going in on her and she was on her own because she’s funny,’ he continued, hinting the harassment might have contributed to her suicide.
‘It’s a true story; my heart was broken. I don’t know what was going on, but I’ll bet dragging her didn’t help.’
Dorman, who began transitioning to a woman in 2014, was an up-and-coming comedian who opened a show for Chappelle.
Her humor veiled a dark past mired by a troubled childhood that left her with severe PTSD, her family said.
But despite her inner demons, she tapped into her comedy to make the world around her laugh, her sister said.
Her sister brushed off critics who have slammed Chappelle’s transgender jokes, saying the comedian ‘loved’ Dorman and said people cannot demand that ‘everyone see it your way’.