After weeks of watching tensions rise in response to his new stand-up special, Dave Chappelle has released a statement of sorts. And it doesn’t appear he’s walking back any of the sentiments that sparked the initial backlash.
In his latest Instagram dispatch, Chappelle returns fire in an unflinching five-plus minute clip from a recent set. “I said what I said. And boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not,?” the comedian asks after confirming he was willing to speak with Netflix employees who walked out in protest of the transphobic material in The Closer, but never actually received an invitation. “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,” Chappelle continues. The comedian says the issue doesn’t involve the LGBTQ community, but “corporate interests” and the restriction of his speech. “For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been loving and supportive, so I don’t know what this nonsense is about,” the comedian explains.
From there, Chappelle pivots to his new documentary, which was shot over the course of last summer, as he hosted socially distanced stand-up shows in his neighbor’s cornfield with some of comedy’s biggest names. After premiering at Tribeca earlier this year, the comedian questions the film’s future in the wake of the backlash to The Closer. “This film that I made was invited to every film festival in the United States. Some of those invitations I accepted. When this controversy came out about The Closer, they began disinviting me from these film festivals,” Chappelle claims. “And now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film,” the comedian adds, before thanking Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, for his loyalty and support. “Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet.”
Chappelle closes by restating his acceptance of some kind of sitdown with the trans community but refuses to do it on their terms. “To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone’s demands,” the comedian says. “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 my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny,” Chappelle stipulates.
Watch the whole clip below.
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