What Happened Backstage With Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Rihanna and More Stars During Dave Chappelle Attack
By Mona Khalifeh
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Dave Chappelle Tackled on Stage
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Dave Chappelle's Netflix Is a Joke show was a star-studded affair. While guests of the comedian -- Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes and more -- were tucked away backstage, they weren't spared from the shocking attack Chappelle faced Tuesday night.
A source tells ET that even with tight security in place, everyone really "freaked out" after hearing that someone with a gun had charged the stage.
"Security was tight at Dave Chappelle's Netflix Is a Joke show last night at the Hollywood Bowl. Backstage guests had to walk through two security checkpoints to enter the backstage area and they locked guests' phones up. JAY-Z, Beyoncé and Busta Rhymes were all backstage," an eyewitness tells ET.
"Most of the people backstage got up to walk out as Dave was wrapping up his set, then everyone heard people yelling and went to exit the backstage area, and security locked down the backstage access point," the source continued before noting that Jay and Bey were brought back inside behind the backstage area. "JAY-Z and Beyoncé were ushered by their security back inside."
"No one really knew what was happening," the source added. "People climbed over to get out of there. Then people heard there was someone there with a gun and everyone really freaked out."
Rihanna was also on hand for the Chappelle show, alongside A$AP Rocky and DaBaby, but a separate source tells ET that they stayed out of harm's way during the attack.
"Rihanna was backstage looking like she was about to go into labor any minute," the source shares. "They did not get caught up in the chaos onstage. They were nowhere near the attack and left shortly after."
Chappelle was attacked onstage Tuesday night as he performed as part of the Netflix Is a Joke Festival at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles police confirmed to ET that a suspect jumped onstage, attacked a "famous comedian" they declined to name and allegedly pointed a handgun replica at him. Police further confirmed the replica had a knife blade, but it's unclear if the person attempted to use the blade.
Citing Los Angeles police, NBC Los Angeles reported that the attacker was taken to the hospital with "superficial injuries" while Chappelle and officers were not injured.
Police confirmed to ET that the suspect -- identified as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee -- was detained, booked on $30,000 bail and initially charged with assault with a deadly weapon. This charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor.
An eyewitness recalled to ET that Chappelle had begun his set and the audience was having a great time. The eyewitness said they saw a man walking toward the stage and climb up, but that it did not seem like anyone paid attention until the man was completely on the stage. While the eyewitness initially thought the man was a staff member or part of the show, in a split second, he charged Chappelle. According to the eyewitness, the comedian did a good job of dodging the actual tackle. The eyewitness noted that, before anyone could understand what was happening, security came and quickly grabbed the attacker and everyone in the audience was in shock.
According to a source, it was "chaos onstage and emotions were running high." Chappelle and Jamie Foxx stepped into the scrum with the security to tackle the attacker, the source shared. "Jamie Foxx said he saw a gun and stepped in to help the security," the source told ET.
"Chapelle was hit in the ribs," the source said. "It all happened so quickly, and he was in shock, but handled it like a pro. He was running on adrenaline."
After the attack, Chappelle said onstage, "I've been doing this 35 years -- I just stomped a n***a backstage. Always wanted to do that."
Despite the incident, the comedian is refusing to let last night's events overshadow "the magic of this historic moment."
"Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl. This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70k fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment," Chapelle's rep told ET.
"As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show. Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the last and featured musical guests for the evening, hip-hop artists yasiin bey and Talib Kweli, a.k.a. Black Star, who performed music from their new album – the first in nearly 24 years – which was released on Luminary," the statement continued. "Other special comedic guests last night included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf."
His rep also noted that Chappelle is fully cooperating with the active police investigation into this incident.
ET has also learned that Netflix is actively discussing the security protocols for future events, and that security for the Netflix Is a Joke Festival is handled by the venues.
In a statement released Wednesday, a spokesperson for the streamer said the safety of their creators is something they care deeply about, "We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence."