Caitlyn Jenner defended Dave Chappelle, who has come under fire for his latest Netflix special The Closer. In the special, Chappelle made several jokes about the transgender community that critics have found offensive. Although Netflix has no plans to remove The Closer from the platform, Jenner, who is transgender, suggested the outrage behind the jokes is about "trying to silence free speech."
"Dave Chappelle is 100% right. This isn't about the LGBTQ movement. It's about woke cancel culture run amok, trying to silence free speech," Jenner wrote to her 3.4 million Twitter followers on Tuesday. "We must never yield or bow to those who wish to stop us from speaking our minds." Jenner included a portion of the video Chappelle posted on Instagram Monday.
In The Closer, Chappelle told his audience that, "Gender is a fact," adding, "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 also showed support for J.K. Rowling, saying he was "team TERF," referring to trans-exclusionary radical feminist, an ideology that rejects trans women as women. The special caused a firestorm right after it was released on Oct. 5, with even Netflix employees speaking out against it.
On Oct. 20, there was a staff walkout at the streamer's headquarters in Los Angeles. During the walkout, a list of demands was read, including asking Netflix to add a disclaimer to The Closer. On the day after the walkout, it was reported that Netflix was considering this. Netflix isn't planning to remove it though, as co-CEO Ted Sarandos has repeatedly defended keeping it up. "I do think that the inclusion of the special on Netflix is consistent with our comedy offering, it's consistent with Dave Chappelle's comedy brand and this is... one of those times when there's something on Netflix that you're not going to like," Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter on Oct. 19.
Chappelle didn't comment on the controversy until Monday, when he posted a bit from a recent performance. In it, he said he would not bend to "anybody's demands," and stood by his comments on the transgender community. He said he would accept an invitation to speak with transgender Netflix employees, but he wasn't sure what he would say. "I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore," Chappelle said.
"I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it that it's me versus that community, that is not what it is. Do not blame the LBGTQ [sic] community for any of this s-," Chappelle continued. "This has nothing to do with them. It's about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say. For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been loving and supporting, so I don't know what all this nonsense is about."
The comedian also claimed his documentary about his 2020 comedy tour was being pulled from film festivals, so he plans to personally tour with the film. His post included the tour schedule, which will start on Nov. 4. Chappelle's list of conditions for meeting with members of the trans community include that they must have watched all of The Closer, the meeting has to be at a time of his choosing and they "must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny." At the end of the clip, Chappelle asked his audience if her was canceled or not. "No," the yelled back.