Dave Chappelle Finally Comments on Netflix Controversy

Comedian is not backing down
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2021 2:07 AM CDT
Dave Chappelle on Netflix Controversy: 'I Said What I Said'
In this Jan. 28, 2018 file photo, Dave Chappelle poses in the press room with the best comedy album award for "The Age of Spin" and "Deep in the Heart of Texas" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Dave Chappelle has offered his first public response to the controversy swirling around his Netflix stand-up special, and to say the comedian is unapologetic would be an understatement. "I said what I said," he says in a new video posted to Instagram that, per the BBC, was recorded at a Louisville performance Sunday night that also featured Joe Rogan. What Chappelle said on the Netflix special was, according to critics, transphobic—but in the new video, he claims, "For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community [the LGBTQ+ community] has been loving and supporting, so I don’t know what all this nonsense is about." He says, per Variety, that his upcoming documentary about his 2020 comedy tour had been invited to "every film festival in the United States" but is now being uninvited.

"And now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film. Thank God for [CEO] Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet," Chappelle continues. As for reports that he refused a request to meet with trans employees of Netflix, he says he was never invited to do such a thing. "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," he said. "And if you want to meet with me, I’d 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."

Gadsby, USA Today reports, is an Australian comedian who was among those mentioned by Sarandos in a memo to staff regarding the diversity of the streaming service's content (Gadsby is a lesbian). She responded to that on Instagram earlier this month, writing that she'd prefer Sarandos leave her out of it: "Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle's fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view." Meanwhile, the employee Netflix fired for allegedly leaking details about the Chappelle special has come forward; B. Pagels-Minor denies leaking data to the media, and says they are "tired as hell" after the debacle. They are also the employee who organized a company walkout last week over the special. More here. (More Dave Chappelle stories.)

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