Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special has sparked controversy following its release on Netflix on Tuesday.
The comedian discusses his views on both gay rights and race in “The Closer,” his sixth special filmed in Detroit.
In a review for NPR, Eric Deggans wrote, “Too often in ‘The Closer,’ it just sounds like Chappelle is using white privilege to excuse his own homophobia and transphobia. And the message Chappelle has for those who have criticized him about transphobic, homophobic or any other phobic jokes seems to be: Race trumps all.”
During his special, Chappelle tells a story of almost getting into a fight with a gay man, who called the police.
“He picked up his phone and he called the police,” Chappelle told the Detroit crowd. “And this, this thing I’m describing as a major issue that I have with that community. Gay people are minorities until they need to be white again.”
At another point, Chappelle said, “Clearly my problem has always been white people. I’ve been arguing with the whites my entire career.”
Toward the end of the special, Chappelle said he will stop joking about “LQBTQ” topics.
“I’m done talking about it,” Chappelle says. “All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?”
This move also displeased Deggans, who wrote, “That line, with all of its terrible assumptions about who ‘your community’ is and who ‘my people’ are, just made me terribly angry and disappointed. Because untangling homophobia, transphobia, racism and white privilege requires a lot more effort and understanding than Chappelle makes here.”
The comedian’s comments about transgenderism were also denounced publicly by GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition and members of the LGBTQ community.
Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree. https://t.co/yOIyT54819
— GLAAD (@glaad) October 6, 2021
Dave Chappelle represents a segment of society (along with white supremacists, hoteps, incels, and others) that is anxious about the waning power of cisheteronormativity and the patriarchy. 🧵
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) October 8, 2021
“They canceled J.K. Rowling, my God,” Chappelle says in the special. “Effectually she said gender was a fact, and then the trans community got mad as s—. They started calling her a TERF.”
He adds that he is on “Team TERF” — which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
“I agree, man. Gender is a fact. You have to look at it from a woman’s perspective.”
Jaclyn Moore, writer and co-showrunner for “Dear White People,” said on Twitter and Instagram that she would no longer work with Netflix.
“After the Chappelle special, I can’t do this anymore. I won’t work for @netflix again as long as they keep promoting and profiting from dangerous transphobic content,” wrote Moore, who documented her own transition during COVID-19 lockdown on social media.
“What I really want is I want companies to hire trans people to work there who can say, ‘Hey, we sure about this?’” Moore told Variety. “The fact of the matter is there are very rarely trans people in those rooms and yet we are so often the subject of the derision. We’re very rarely in any decision-making positions. And I think that’s my bigger concern.”
At a sold-out screening of “Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary” at the Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 7, Chapelle said, “I don’t know what to tell you, except I’m a bad motherf—er.”
“If this is what being canceled is about, I love it,” Chappelle told the crowd. “F— Twitter. F— NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid ass networks. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life.”