Dave Chappelle, the American comedian who was called out for making transphobic remarks during his Netflix show The Closer, denied being invited for an open dialogue with the trans community, in a video that he posted on Instagram, on Monday.
The five-minute long video saw Chappelle address the allegations leveled against him for the first time. He said, “That is not true. If they had invited me, I would have accepted. Although I am confused about what we would be speaking about. 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 who can’t go to the office anymore.”
Activist and journalist Ashlee Marie Preston, who organised an in-person rally called “Stand Up in Solidarity” in support of the walkout at the Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles, wrote on October 14, on social media, that Chappelle was invited but did not show up.
“That’s not ‘cancel culture,’ but an avoidance of accountability. He’s no victim. The man is worth $50M. Unlike many trans people his comedy stigmatizes – he’ll live.”
Later, Chappelle’s team responded and said that he was ready to engage with the community.
Chappelle added that “even though the media frames as if its me versus that community, it’s not what it is. Let’s not blame the LBGTQ community for any of this shit.”
“Thank god for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he is the only one who didn’t cancel me yet,” he said.
Netflix’s senior management too has come under fire for repeatedly defending the show since its release earlier this month.
The streaming giant also suspended a few of its employees who had criticised Chappelle’s comedy special on social media, though the stated reason for the suspension was their unauthorised attendance at a high-level meeting. These employees were later reinstated on October 13.
Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Sarandos later admitted that he “screwed up” in handling the backlash. However, he said Chappelle’s comedy special did not fall under hate speech and confirmed that Netflix would continue to stream it.
Addressing the transgender community, Chappelle said, “I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands. And if you want to meet with me, I am more than willing to, but I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched by special from beginning till end. You must come to a place of my choosing, and a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”