Dave Chappelle has issued a statement after the comedian was attacked by a man while onstage at the Hollywood Bowl during the Netflix Is a Joke Festival. Chappelle's spokesperson attempted to bring the focus back to the comedian's run of shows as they addressed the incident, in which police say 23-year-old Isaiah Lee rushed onstage from the audience to tackle Chappelle before being removed by security officers.
"Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl," reads the statement. "This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70k fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment."
The statement continues on to thank Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock for their assistance in helping to "calm the crowd with humor" before Chappelle could come back to introduce the final musical guest for the evening, Black Star. Rock made comparisons in the aftermath to his own recent experience being assaulted while presenting at the 2022 Oscars – when Will Smith slapped him over a joke made about wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock joked that the suspect was "maybe being Will Smith," telling the crowd, "You know, they were like, 'Is that Will Smith?'"
"As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show," the statement added. Netflix also released a statement in the wake of Chappelle's attack, saying simply, "We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence."
Lee has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, and his bail was set at $30,000. Lee was allegedly armed with a replica gun that police said was capable of ejecting a real knife blade when discharged, but it's unclear if Lee made an attempt to use the weapon during the attack. Lee sustained superficial injuries during the altercation and was taken to a hospital, police continued, but Chappelle was not injured during the attack.