Dave Chappelle Speaks Out About Cancel Culture Amid Netflix Special Controversy

The comedian has come under fire for transphobic comments made in his Netflix special, 'The Closer.'

Dave Chappelle and Netflix are facing intense backlash for the derogatory comments toward the LGBTQ+ community made during the comedian's latest comedy special, and the 48-year-old is speaking out about it. 

He's speaking out about "cancel culture," that is, not the actual criticism aimed at his material. 

According to multiple reports, when Chappelle took the stage at a sold-out show at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl on Thursday night, he reiterated his special's messages of kindness and love, and made light of the censure aimed at his special, The Closer.

"If this is what being canceled is like, I love it," he told his applauding audience, according to Deadline. "I don't know what to tell you, except I'm a bad motherf**ker."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, at one point the comedian said, "F**k Twitter. F**k NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid a** networks. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to you. This is real life.”

The special, currently No. 4 on Netflix's U.S. top 10 list of the streamer's most popular titles, made its debut on Netflix on Tuesday and was immediately met with a wave of disapproval for several transphobic comments.

"Gender is a fact," Chappelle says during the special. "Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth."

Chappelle also supported rapper DaBaby and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling -- who have both been criticized for anti-gay and transphobic comments -- by identifying as "Team TERF," which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, an ideology that excludes trans women as women.

This isn't the first time the comedian has faced criticism for his bigoted comments and he references those instances born from his specials, Equanimity and Sticks and Stones. Those aired on Netflix as well.

A spokesperson for Netflix tells ET they have no comment.

GLAAD spoke out against the comic's statements on Twitter, writing, "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."

Jaclyn Moore, an executive producer on Netflix's Dear White People, called out the streamer for putting out and profiting from "blatantly and dangerously transphobic content." Noting that she shared the story of her transition on Netflix's LGBTQ+ vertical during the streamer's Pride week, the writer pointed out that airing Chappelle's special gives his speech a global platform.

"Those words have real world consequences. Consequences that every trans woman I know has dealt with," she wrote. "Bruises and panicked phone calls to friends. That's real."

The National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group serving the LGBTQ+ community, also provided a statement to Variety, urging Netflix to remove the new special from its catalog.

"With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better," NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement. "Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community."

Terra Fied, a senior software engineer at Netflix, also called out the streamer for promoting the special. "Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness — all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups," she tweeted. "Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act."

"What we object to is the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women. People who look like me aren't being killed. I'm a white woman, I get to worry about Starbucks writing "Tara" on my drink," she added. "This is not an argument with two sides. It is an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don't want us to be."



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