Dave Chappelle faces backlash over new Netflix special ‘ridiculing trans people’
"All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?"
Dave Chappelle is facing allegations of transphobia and homophobia over remarks in his Netflix special, The Closer. The special, his sixth and last (for now) with the streaming service since a 2016 deal, came out Tuesday and immediately sparked backlash, including from GLAAD and National Black Justice Coalition, for jokes directed at the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans people.
At the show, recorded at The Fillmore in Detroit in August, Chappelle, who has long been criticized for remarks about LGBTQ+ people, stirred things up again by making comments like, “Gender is a fact. 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.” He went on to make fun of the genitalia of trans women.
Chappelle also defended Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling who has faced allegations of transphobia for years.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling — my God,” he said. “Effectually she said gender was a fact. The trans community got mad as sh**, they started calling her a TERF,” Chappelle said, which means “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” whose views about feminism are seen as anti-trans. He added, “I’m team TERF… Gender is a fact.”
I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, “I’m not a ‘real’ woman.” I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done. https://t.co/2naqrzW0G2
— Jaclyn Moore (@JaclynPMoore) October 7, 2021
At another point, Chappelle addressed the LGBTQ+ community directly, asking to “negotiate the release of DaBaby,” the rapper who was criticized for homophobic comments this summer, saying he “punched the LGBTQ community right in the AIDS.” Chappelle brought up DaBaby firing a gun that killed a 19-year-old in 2018, but said it was his anti-gay comments that got him canceled.
“In our country, you can shoot and kill a n*****, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings,” Chappelle said.
NBJC urges Netflix to remove Dave Chappelle’s special from platform.
“It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air.”
— Complex (@Complex) October 7, 2021
At another point, he talked about getting into a fight with a lesbian, quipping, “I’m glad TMZ didn’t believe that — because I did beat the sh** out of her. I’m not gonna lie. It was her fault. I had no choice.”
I really hope you watched The Closer. And I hope you really listened. Dave Chappelle. The Poet, The GOAT, The Human pic.twitter.com/AGqIiB7VKH
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) October 6, 2021
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At the end, Chappelle again referenced DaBaby and other Black celebrities (like Kevin Hart) who have faced scrutiny for anti-gay remarks, saying he will no longer make jokes targeting the LGBTQ+ community until “we are both sure that we are laughing together. I’m telling you, it’s done, I’m done talking about it,” he said. “All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?”
There has been extensive criticism online with GLAAD issuing a statement, saying “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” and calling for people not to stream the special.
What do you think of Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix? Do you think they should pull the plug?