Dave Chappelle has finally addressed the controversy stirred up by his jokes in his latest Netflix comedy special The Closer and reiterated his desire to meet with members of the community – with a couple of conditions.
The five-minute Instagram clip features the comedian addressing the furor, which led LGBTQ+ employees and allies at Netflix to stage a walkout in protest of what they considered transphobic hate speech by the comedian and CEO Ted Sarandos’ initial handling of the situation. “It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees at Netflix, and I refused. That is not true,” Chappelle said at the outset in front of a live audience at a show of his reportedly taped in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday (October 23rd). “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. Well, it seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”
He implored the audience to not place blame on the LGBTQ+ community. “I want everyone in this audience to know that, even though the media frames us that it’s me versus that community, that is not what it is.” He then stated again that he’s willing to sit down and talk things out. “To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience,” Chappelle said. “But you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands. And if you want to meet with me, I’d be more than willing to, but I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.” Gadsby, the Australian comedienne, had also taken offense to Chappelle’s comments.
Chappelle also said the controversy has limited opportunities for his upcoming Untitled documentary. “And now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film. Thank God for Ted Sarandos at Netflix. He’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet.”, he said. He then announced that he’ll be showing the film on a ten-city tour in the U.S. with tickets being available soon.