Dave Chappelle, the American comedian who recently appeared in the Netflix stand-up special, The Closer, was called out by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Black Justice Coalition on Wednesday, after he passed homophobic and anti-trans remarks.
Throughout the performance, while Chappelle referred to himself and other cis heterosexual Black people as Blacks, he referred to the LGBTQIA+ individuals as “niggas”- an equivalent of the term “negroes” in America which is usually used in an offensive manner.
GLADD, an organisation which works for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ people in the entertainment industry, said on Twitter, “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”.
His controversial comments on transgender people started with the reference of the rapper DaBaby, who received flak for passing homophobic comments during a concert in July. Chappelle joked that DaBaby “punched the LGBTQ community right in the AIDS”. Before this, he recalled an incident in 2018 where the rapper was involved in a fight inside a North Carolina Walmart where another person was shot and killed.
“In our country, you can shoot and kill a nigga. But you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings”.
He eventually said that he was jealous of the progress that the LGBTQIA+ movement made in America, and remarked, “If slaves had oil and booty shorts on, we might have been free 100 years sooner”.
He also referred to himself being on ‘Team TERF’ (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) while defending JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. Rowling herself has been criticised for voicing TERF sentiments in her blog speaking about “issues” which sideline “women” in order to be able to appease to the “socio-political concept” of transgender.
She came under fire for writing an opinion piece on “people who menstruate,” in June 2020, taking a dig at the theoretical concept of the “bathroom problem” that highlights the absence of toilets for trans-women. The article highlighted the issue of privacy faced by cis women who find trans-women using the same washroom as them, thereby, jeopardizing their safety and dignity.
Reacting to it, Chappelle said, “They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God. Effectively, she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as (expletive), they started calling her a TERF.”
“I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” he added.
Jaclyn Moore, a writer, producer, and showrunner on the Netflix series Dear White People, said that she was “done” with the company for profiting from “blatantly and dangerously transphobic content”.
Addressing Chappelle in a thread of tweets, she said, “He says we don’t listen. But he’s not listening. Those words have real world consequences. Consequences that every trans woman I know has dealt with. Bruises and panicked phone calls to friends. That’s real”.
“So when he says people should be mad a trans woman won a “Woman of the Year” award… When he misgenders… When he says he should’ve told that mother her daughter WAS A DUDE… I just can’t… I can’t be a part of a company that thinks that’s worth putting out and celebrating,” Moore added.
This is not the first time that Chappelle was called out for his controversial remarks.
In 2017, on his stand-up special on Netflix, The Age of Spin, Chapelle made fun of trans people and said, “[trans people] hate my fucking guts and I don’t blame them. […] I can’t stop writing jokes about these niggas.”