Dave Chappelle Uses Attack to Make Another Transphobic Joke

Dave Chappelle Uses Attack to Make Another Transphobic Joke

After having been attacked onstage mid-set at the Hollywood Bowl last night, Dave Chapelle is facing backlash from the trans community once again over comments he made.

Chapelle was tackled in the middle of his headlining performance at the Netflix Is a Joke Festival in LA by a man who was carrying a fake handgun that carried a blade inside of it. LAPD later identified the man as 23 year-old Isaiah Lee who was seen being taken out of the venue on a stretcher after being beaten by security guards and later charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

It's unclear as to what set the attacker off, but it was the series of events that followed after the dust had settled that got the internet riled up.

There was potentially a joke in there about a heckler going for a punchline — Chris Rock, who was also performing that night, made sure he got his licks in, running on stage and yelling "was that Will Smith?" — but Chappelle instead decided to fall back on his transphobic material, turning to the audience following the incident and exclaiming “It was a trans man!” (It's worth stating, for the record, that the assailant was not actually transgender.)

Prior to the incident, Chappelle had joke that he probably needed to up his security in the wake of the controversy surrounding his repeated use of transphobic jokes (because the trans community is totally known for being a violet group). The comedian's most recent Netflix special, The Closer, sparked massive backlash after Chappelle continued to double down on past transphobic remarks, even going so far as to proclaim himself a part of "team TERF," defending the likes of J. K. Rowling, DaBaby and Kevin Hart and accusing the LGBTQ+ community of being "too sensitive." Prominent LGBTQ+ celebrities called on Netflix to take down the special and many of the company's own employees staged a walk out over the streaming service's refusal to take it down. A pregnant Black employee wound up getting fired and a trans software engineer got suspended after they spoke out against the special.

Last October, Chappelle said he would meet with trans Netflix employees, walking back his prior standoffish response, but considering that Chappelle taking jabs at trans folks still appears to be at the crux of his comedy, nothing ever came of this supposed meeting. Chapelle later released a video addressing the trans community, saying “I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone’s demands.”

Photo via Getty/ Tim Nwachukwu