Saturday Night Live Writers Are Boycotting Their Own Show?

Rumors abound that Saturday Night Live writers are boycotting this week's show in protest of celebrity host Dave Chappelle, who many accuse of transphobia.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Is there a Saturday Night Live boycott by the show’s writers? According to Page Six, several writers have stepped out after SNL chose Dave Chappelle to host this weekend’s show. The controversial choice has created a disturbance at 30 Rock as it’s reported that some employees are uncomfortable working with the comedian, who has made transphobic comments in the past.

Chappelle’s representative has denied the claims of the Saturday Night Live boycott, according to CNN. The rep reported that Chappelle’s team has seen no evidence to support that some writers are sitting out of the episode. In fact, Chappelle’s team was pitched more than 40 sketches for his consideration. They claimed that when Chappelle went to Studio 8H, he met with a room full of writers who were excited to be working with him.

This will be Chappelle’s third time hosting the sketch-comedy series. He previously hosted in 2016 and again in 2020, both times before the release of his Netflix comedy special, The Closer, in 2021. After the release of his special, Chappelle was met with outrage from both viewers and Netflix employees. Many of Chappelle’s jokes in the special were aimed at the trans community, and Chappelle claimed he was “team TERF”, which means “trans-exclusionary-radical-feminist.” Chappelle’s anti-trans comments caused viral backlash on social media.

dave chappelle netflix
Dave Chappelle

In addition to criticism on social media, one venue canceled a Dave Chappelle appearance after receiving criticism for booking him to perform. In May of this year, Chappelle was attacked by a member of his audience, allegedly because of his transphobic jokes.

Netflix received criticism for standing by the transphobic special. More than 65 Netflix employees walked out in a boycott of their employer. Ex-Netflix executive, Terra Field, sued the streaming service, claiming that they retaliated against them for speaking out against Chappelle. At SNL’s announcement that Chappelle would be hosting, Field tweeted, “Wait I thought I canceled him. Is it possible that cancel culture isn’t a real thing.”

Activists and allies alike have turned to social media to express their fury at SNL’s decision to have Chappelle lead the upcoming episode. Many viewers feel betrayed that the seemingly progressive company would hire someone who has been unapologetically outspoken against the trans community, especially after SNL made history by adding its first trans and non-binary writer to the show. In September of this year, SNL announced that they were hiring their first out non-binary cast member, Molly Kearney, and first trans non-binary writer, Celeste Yim. 

After the announcement that Chappelle would be hosting this weekend, Yim posted on Instagram Stories, “Transphobia is murder and should be condemned.” While stories disappear after 24 hours and are no longer viewable, a screenshot of their post has been circling the internet. It is uncertain if they were referring to Chappelle or if they are part of the Saturday Night Live boycott.

Kearney has not made any public comments alluding to Chappelle, but a source told Page Six that no actors were involved with the sit out.

Despite backlash on social media and an alleged walkout from some of the SNL writers, Chappelle will be hosting the upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live on November 12. The musical guest will be Black Star.