Dave Chappelle seemed undeterred by the outcry of negativity he’s received on social media while playing to a sold-out crowd at Los Angeles’ iconic Hollywood Bowl over the weekend.
The comedian has faced immense backlash over very negative comments he made about the LGBTQ+ community during his sixth Netflix comedy special The Closer. Specifically, the comedian targeted the transgender community with a myriad of jokes discounting them as human beings. Deadline notes that almost the entire final third of Dave Chappelle’s latest special is dedicated to harping on the LGBTQ+ community with comments like “gender is a fact,” and even siding with J.K. Rowling, who has been criticized on social media in recent years for doubling down on comments that discounted trans women as women.
Dave Chappelle noted that he is “Team TERF,” a term applied often to Rowling that means “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” essentially implying that he too does not believe trans women are women. Meanwhile, he also took jabs at gay and lesbian people, joking that they’re too sensitive and even declared that they’re punching down on “his people.”
The comments have led to immediate backlash as many call on Dave Chappelle’s special to be pulled from Netflix as others call him out for his transphobic and homophobic views. However, the comedian was all smiles in front of an uproariously adoring crowd on Thursday where he took the stage alongside guests like Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, Jeff Ross, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Stevie Wonder, poet Amir Sulaiman, Nas, Lizzo, and Jon Hamm for a screening of his Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary.
“If this is what being canceled is about, I love it,” Dave Chappelle said when greeting the crowd.
Other moments from the night saw him lambaste various media companies who have covered the backlash, other comments taking a dig at “cancel culture” and seemingly reveling in the negative attention, joking that he’s “a bad motherf—er.” All of which received applause and standing ovations from the 18,000-strong crowd.
While the admiration for his career victory lap at the Hollywood Bowl is likely disappointing for his critics, especially given the fact that he also received scorn from the transgender community for comments he made on his previous Netflix special Sticks & Stones, it doesn’t look like the controversy is going anywhere. Although Dave Chappelle is far from the first comedian to try to pivot attention away from himself and onto the nebulous concept of “cancel culture,” many are still taking both him and Netflix to task over giving him a platform to spew such negative comments.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that, in the time since the special was released, organizations like GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition as well as some creators have called on Netflix to answer for one of its top ten pieces of content in the U.S. being so virulently anti-trans. So far, Netflix hasn’t commented and Dave Chappelle seemingly shared his thoughts with a crowd at the Hollywood Bowl when he doubled down on his “jokes.”
However, Netflix can’t dodge its Dave Chappelle controversy for long, especially as it publicly bleeds creators over the incident. Jaclyn Moore, a trans writer, executive producer, and showrunner who spent four seasons on Netflix’s Dear White People, took to Twitter to state that she will no longer be working with Netflix as a result of it giving a platform to the comedian.