Entertainment

Dave Chappelle says he’s willing to speak to transgender community but will not bend “to anyone’s demands”

Dave Chappelle said he is willing to speak with the transgender community following the controversy surrounding his latest Netflix special but said he would not be “bending to anyone’s demands.”

“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands,” Chappelle said in a clip posted to his Instagram on Monday. 

The 48-year-old comedian listed three conditions for the meet, and responded to fellow comedian Hannah Gadsby, who considers Chapelle’s latest special “hate speech.”

“If you wanna meet with me, I’d be more than willing to, but I have 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 and a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit, that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”

His latest special, “The Closer,” premiered on Netflix on October 5 and has been criticized by members of the LGBTQ+ community ever since. In the special, Chappelle makes several jokes toward transgender individuals, including calling himself a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” like author J.K. Rowling. 

Now, Chappelle is blaming the backlash for the stagnation of his film “8:46,” in which he addresses the death of George Floyd and police violence against Black Americans. In the clip shared on Monday, Chappelle claims that the film had been invited to “every film festival” across the country but had those invitations revoked following the recent backlash.

Chappelle also thanked Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who previously admitted to Variety that he mishandled the controversy, for being the only one not to cancel him. 

“I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames this that it’s me versus that (LGBTQ) community, that is not what it is,” Chappelle said in the Instagram clip. “I do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of that s***. This has nothing to do with them. This is about corporate interests, and about what I can say, and what I cannot say.”

“For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supporting,” he added. “So I don’t know what this nonsense is about.”

Last week, Netflix employees, lead by the “Team Trans” organization, walked out of work in protest of the special, calling on the streaming giant to add a disclaimer to the “The Closer,” saying it contains transphobic language and hate speech.

“At this point, the special has likely been watched by the majority of people who will ever watch it,” said Terra Field, a Netflix software engineer and vice president of Team Trans. “If you take a piece of media down when it has already been available for a while, that tends to just drive more interest in it as it becomes taboo.”

“We feel our time and energy is better spent pushing for a content warning for all transphobic content, and focusing on creating new opportunities for queer and trans creators.”


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