Dave Chappelle has come under fire these past few weeks, following the release of his brand-new Netflix special The Closer after it was less-than-well received by transgender members of the LGBTQ+ community, many of whom have since accused the comedian of transphobia and even staged protests against his work.
However, Chappelle himself has now said that he is open to the idea of discussing his new Netflix special with the transgender community, though he’s made it very clear that he will not be “bending to anybody’s demands.”
“It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true. If they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about,” Chappelle said in a clip from a recent stand-up routine he uploaded to his own Instagram account.
He continued, “I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”
“I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it that it’s me versus that community, that is not what it is. Do not blame the LBGTQ [sic] 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,” Chappelle continued, to thunderous cheering from the audience.
Chappelle also made sure to let the audience know that the LGBTQ+ community has been supportive of him, stating, “For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supporting, so I don’t know what all this nonsense is about.”
“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,” the comedian fervently asserted. “And if you want to meet with me, I’d be more than willing to, but I have some conditions.”
He then detailed, “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.”
The transgender community has accused the comedian of being transphobic due to the nature of some of the jokes he made in his new stand-up special, though most people who actually watched The Closer have agreed that it is only a vocal minority who felt they were “attacked” by Chappelle’s routine.
However, those who were offended have been sure to let the world know. Aside from a flurry of tweets and thinkpieces, Netflix’s transgender employee resource group (ERG) recently organised a walkout that reportedly saw over 100 attendees stand in protest of both Chappelle and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who not only said he supported the comedian, but also revealed that the special would not be pulled from the streaming platform.
At the walkout, protesters had a “list of asks” for Netflix, which included such outrageous demands as the removal of all Chappelle-related imagery from the company’s offices as well as the recruitment of transgender individuals for leadership roles in the company.
Sarandos has since bent the knee to the cancel culture mob, taking back his support for Chappelle and claiming that he “screwed up that internal communication.”
“Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication,” Sarandos told Variety regarding employee concerns related to Dave Chappelle’s The Closer.
He added, “I did that, and I screwed it up in two ways. First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made.”
“And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything,” Sarandos added. “I didn’t do that. That was uncharacteristic for me, and it was moving fast and we were trying to answer some really specific questions that were floating. We landed with some things that were much more blanket and matter-of-fact that are not at all accurate.”
Interestingly, Sarandos does not consider that Chappelle’s special to be in the category of hate speech, explaining that “Under the definition of ‘does it intend to cause physical harm?’ I do not believe it falls into hate speech.”
Further, Sarandos also oddly stated that he didn’t believe “there have been many calls to remove it.”
What do you make of Chappelle being open to discuss The Closer with the transgender community? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below or on social media!