Dave Chappelle Offers to Sit Down with Disgruntled Netflix Employees, Says No One Has Taken Him Up on It


Dave Chappelle can’t seem to escape controversy these days as many continue to take offense at his comedy. Even his offer to have a dialogue with critics has reportedly been met with opposition.

Chappelle is simply trying to keep some vestige of a civilized, free society by being free in his comedy and yet also open to criticism and discussion. For this, he is being lambasted.

After Netflix’s release of the controversial comedian’s special “The Closer,” parts of the audience became enraged at some of Chappelle’s comments about the LGBT community.

“In our country, you can shoot and kill a n****,  but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings. And this is precisely the disparity that I wish to discuss,” Chappelle said in his routine, according to CBS News.

Chappelle then went on to align himself with author J.K. Rowling’s statements against transgender ideology.

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“I’m team TERF!” he said. (“TERF” or “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” is a term used for feminists who refuse to bow to transgender propaganda.)

Chappelle kept going with his gender jokes, which only further triggered parts of his audience.

“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,” Chappelle said.

These comments riled up parts of the LGBT community, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation openly criticized Chappelle.

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“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” the alliance tweeted. “Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”

“Team Trans” then organized a walkout of Netflix employees to protest Chappelle’s special. Many stars who Netflix also employs publicly supported the walkout and labeled Chappelle’s comedy transphobic.

In response, Chappelle said he would love to sit down with members of the LGBT community to have a dialogue about his comments. His rep told TMZ the comedian was ready to have a discussion with any Netflix employees too if they would actually reach out to him.

But even this offer for discussion has garnered strife. Ashlee Marie Preston, who organized the walkout, said he invited Chappelle for a discussion but that the comedian did not show up. Chappelle’s team, however, said they are not sure why Preston said that since no one has reached out to them to have a discussion with Chappelle. The comedian’s rep told Yahoo they had not “received any direct contact” from Peterson.

Despite condemnation from many, others are firmly in Chappelle’s corner. Most powerfully, Netflix is not going to remove “The Closer.”

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Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, has been clear that Chappelle’s routine is not hate speech.

“Under the definition of ‘does it intend to cause physical harm?’ I do not believe it falls into hate speech,” Sarandos told Variety.

Many others have also stood behind Chappelle, trying to defend the idea of comedy itself.

“I feel like Dave freed the slaves. The comedian, we were slaves to PC culture, and as an artist, he’s van Gogh, cut his ear off. He’s trying to tell us it’s OK,” fellow comedian Damon Wayans told TMZ. “I just think he’s saying, you know what, with all that I have, I’m not afraid to lose it for the sake of freeness of speech.”

Anyone who is in favor of free speech and being able to joke should be standing behind Chappelle. No one wants to live in a world where you are told what you can and can’t joke about. That would mean living in a world that kills comedy, a basic element of human nature.

Even more than that, Chappelle’s offer to have an open discussion with his critics and Netflix employees who were offended by his comments should be applauded. In the face of an increasingly polarized society, one thing that can bridge the divides is conversation.

Chappelle seems to understand this. If Americans actually want the totally free society they claim to want, there has to be freedom for discussions, speech, jokes, even offense. The LGBT lobby is free to take offense at Chappelle’s quips. But he is also free to joke.

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