Dave Chappelle Sends Message to Trans Netflix Employees in New Standup Video
Dave Chappelle finally spoke out on the controversy surrounding his latest Netflix special, The Closer, in a defiant new standup video he shared on his Instagram page Monday. Although the comedian said he would meet with transgender Netflix employees and members of the trans community, he refused to bend to "anybody's demands." He also stood by the original comments in The Closer that many found transphobic, noting, "I said what I said."
Chappelle referred to reports that he refused to speak to transgender Netflix employees, but said that was not true, reports Variety. "If they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about," Chappelle said in the clip. "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."
He went on to claim "corporate interests" were behind the controversy and noted how some members of the LGBTQ+ community have supported him. "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 said. "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."
Chappelle later said he has a documentary about his 2020 comedy tour in the can, but it will not be shown at upcoming film festivals because of the controversy. "Now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film. Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he's the only one that didn't cancel me yet," Chappelle said.
Towards the end of the video, Chappelle revealed his list of conditions that have to be met in order to meet members of the trans community. The first is that they must have watched The Closer from beginning to end, and the second is that the meeting has to be at a time of his choosing. The last condition was "you must admit that Hannah GadSby is not funny," a reference to comedian Hannah Gadsby, who has two Netflix specials. Gasby, who is a lesbian, recently posted a statement asking Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos not to "drag my name into your mess" after Sarandos mentioned her in one of his memos to Netflix staff in response to the Chappelle controversy.
Chappelle plans to show his documentary, Untitled, in 10 cities, which he listed in the caption to Monday's video. The tour, which will include a live appearance by Chappelle at each stop, begins on Nov. 4 in San Francisco and ends on Nov. 22 in New York. "Am I canceled or not?" Chappelle asked his audience at the end of the clip.
The Closer was released on Oct. 5. Chappelle made several transphobic remarks in the special. "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," Chapelle said. "That is a fact." He later said he supported J.K. Rowling and was "team TERF," referring to rans-exclusionary radical feminist, an ideology that rejects trans women as women. Ashlee Marie Preston, who organized a Netflix staff walkout on Oct. 20, told Variety that Chappelle was asked to speak to organizers but refused to do so.