Dave Chappelle: Transgender Activist Mentioned in Netflix Special Dies by Suicide

The transgender comedian and actress mentioned in Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix special has reportedly passed away. Daphne Dorman committed suicide after the special's release, according to a report by Deadline.

Doorman's passing was confirmed by the Office of Transgender Initiatives for the City and County of San Francisco. As Chappelle mentioned in the special, she lived in San Francisco, and was hoping to make her way as a comedian like Chappelle.

Dorman was at the center of a story Chappelle told in the "Epilogue" portion of his latest Netflix special Sticks & Stones. In it, he recalled working out his material for the special at a San Francisco club he loves, including the inflammatory jokes about the transgender community. He said that Dorman was "laughing the hardest" at these jokes.

After the special, Dorman changed her Twitter bio, confirming that she was the woman in Chappelle's story. "Yep," it read, "I'm the Daphne that Dave Chappell is talking about in Sticks & Stones. Actress. Activist. Author. Advocate. Amazon."

On Friday, she posted a message on Facebook that essentially amounted to a suicide note.

"I’ve thought about this a lot before this morning," it read. "How do you say 'goodbye' and 'I’m sorry' and 'I love you' to all the beautiful souls you know? For the last time."

Dorman was working as a software engineer at Vineti, where she held a senior position. The company does software automation, and analyzes cell and gene therapies.

Chappelle talked about Dorman at length in his standup routine, apparently fondly. He was accused of being transphobic again in this latest special, though not specifically for his story about Dorman.

"I did six shows that weekend, this trans woman came to four of them," Chappelle recalled. "Calls herself Daphne. Man, this chick Daphne was in there cracking the f— up at everything I said about everybody."

Chappelle said that he then found Dorman alone at the bar as the club slowly emptied out. He joined her for a solitary drink, where she told him about her aspirations in the entertainment business.

"She was f—ing cool!" he said. "Turns out that Daphne, she wants to be a comedian. She was asking me for advice... She said to me, 'boy, you sure do get a bad rap for your trans jokes.' I said 'Daphne, thank you, but you don't have to say that. I hope I didn't offend you.' She goes 'No, no, no, no, no.'"

Chappelle said that Dorman then brought up a New York Times piece which claimed that he was partially responsible for R. Kelly's alleged sexual assaults, since he "normalized" the singer's infamy.

"'I wonder why they never say that you normalize trandgenders by telling jokes about us,'" he recalled her saying.


Chappelle ended the bit with a crass joke about Dorman's anatomy. On social media, users are still arguing about whether he crossed a line, and whether he bears responsibility for Dorman's tragic passing.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.