Entertainment

Dave Chappelle gets standing ovation in LA after backing JK Rowling in transgender spat


Dave Chappelle was met with thunderous applause from his fellow celebrities during a Thursday screening of a biographical film chronicling his life – days after sparking controversy by backing Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in her highly-publicized spat with the transgender community.

‘If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,’ the 48-year-old funnyman said Thursday night to a star-studded audience at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.

Chapelle had faced furious backlash from the LGBTQ community for making remarks in his latest Netflix special, The Closer, that some have claimed are transphobic.

In the stand-up special – his sixth for the streaming service – Chapelle joked about Rowling’s 2019 statement that transgender women were not actually women and were a threat to her identity. 

Dave Chappelle attacked the advent of ‘cancel culture’ during a speech at a screening of a documentary film about the comic’s life, as the star continues to face backlash over the controversial contents of his latest Netflix special, The Closer

Rowling, 56, subsequently received a slew of hate messages and death threats for her comments on sex and gender after the incident, with the hashtag #RIPJKRowling trending on social media last year. 

Rowling was then labeled a ‘TERF’ by the LGBTQ community – which stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist.’ 

Chappelle joked that he embraced the label. 

‘I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man,’ Chappelle says in the special, aligning himself with the ousted writer.  

‘Gender is a fact,’ he then remarks.

Chapelle adds: ‘Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is a fact.’

In the contentious special, Chapelle also jokes that women today view transwomen the same way black people might view white women wearing blackface, and remarked that women are entitled to feel anger toward transwomen, since Caitlyn Jenner won Glamour magazine’s 2015 Woman of the Year award.

‘I’d be mad as sh*t if I was a woman,’ Chappelle says during a problematic bit.

The star also jokes about the anatomy of transwomen in the special, joking that they lacked real female reproductive organs and that they did not have blood but ‘beet juice.’

During a speech at Thursdays event, however, the superstar comic steered clear of any material that might offend members of the LGBTQ community but he did show his contempt towards the recent phenomenon known as ‘cancel culture.’

‘If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,’ the Half Baked star said as took the stage to a standing ovation. 

The remark by the comic, and many more that followed it, was met with cheers and uproarious applause from the crowd, which boasted a host of A-list celebrities, like Brad Pitt, Tiffany Haddish, Jon Hamm, Snoop Dogg, and more.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling stated in 2019 that transgender women were not actually women and were a threat to her identity, and subsequently received death threats Chapelle says in his special that he stands with the now-ousted writer

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling stated in 2019 that transgender women were not actually women and were a threat to her identity, and subsequently received death threats Chapelle says in his special that he stands with the now-ousted writer

The comic then went a step further, calling out a slew of news outlets during his address. 

‘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.’

Chapelle, clearly alluding to the fact that he has been under fire since the release of his newest Netflix special earlier this week, ended his set by doubling down on messages of kindness and love that were conveyed in the documentary about the comic’s own life – ironically titled, ‘Untitled’ Dave Chappelle Documentary. 

‘Do something nice for someone who looks nothing like you,’ the comedian urged the audience, in earnest and sudden shift from his his usual self. 

‘We have to trust one another,’ he said, garnering more applause. 

The LGBTQ community, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Black Justice Coalition have all spoken out about the comedian’s controversial act in The Closer. 

The special, currently ranked number-four out of Netflix’s most popular streaming titles, also features jabs at white gays, as well as the #MeToo movement and lesbians.

‘I don’t hate gay people I respect the shit out of you. Not all of you,’ Chapelle says in his latest project with the popular streaming service. 

‘I’m not that fond of these newer gays — too sensitive, too brittle. I miss the old-school gays…the Stonewall gays. They didn’t take shit from anybody.’

In the special, Chappelle also stuck his toe the controversial waters surrounding DaBaby, who was criticized for his homophobic remarks at the Rolling Loud festival and subsequently removed from several festival dates. 

Chappelle joked that he wanted to ‘negotiate the release of DaBaby’ with the LGBTQ community. He then went on to question why DaBaby was canceled for his homophobic comments rather than for shooting a man in the past.

‘Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,’ the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation posted on Twitter Wednesday. ‘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.’  

Some advocacy groups calling on the streaming service to axe his show.

David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, asked Netflix to apologize to the transgender community and pull The Closer from its streaming service.

‘We do not condone violence against any members of our community and our feelings and existence as trans, queer, and non-binary/non-conforming people matter too,’ Johns said in a statement.

‘What’s being missed at this moment is the extreme rate at which Black trans women are murdered, annually. All of this to say, we should think and engage more critically so we can all get free.’ 

Comedian Dave Chappelle is under fire for making transphobic jokes in his new Netflix special

Comedian Dave Chappelle is under fire for making transphobic jokes in his new Netflix special

His transgender jokes angered LGBQT advocates such as GLAAD, which blasted him on Twitter

His transgender jokes angered LGBQT advocates such as GLAAD, which blasted him on Twitter

National Black Justice Coalition executive director David Johns wants the show cancelled

National Black Justice Coalition executive director David Johns wants the show cancelled 

His jokes also didn’t sit well with America’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, which issued a scathing statement about his standup routine.

‘Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,’ GLAAD tweeted.

‘Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes.’

Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore, who is transgender, said she’ll boycott Netflix for continuing to ‘put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.’

‘I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix,’ Moore tweeted.

‘Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, I’m not a ‘real’ woman. I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done.’

Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore said she¿ll boycott Netflix for airing the special

Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore said she’ll boycott Netflix for airing the special

NPR TV critic Eric Deggan said Chappelle also ventured into antisemitism during his routine by kiddingly pitching a movie called ‘Space Jews,’ about a diaspora of former Earthlings who return to the planet to take it over.

‘I don’t really care what point he’s trying to make,’ Deggan wrote. ‘A joke that sounds like antisemitism gets a hard pass from me.’

But not everyone’s a critic.

The sisters of Daphne Dorman – a transgender friend of Chappelle’s who died by suicide in 2019 – said they were appalled at suggestions the comedian was transphobic.

The family of transgender woman Daphne Dorman, who died by suicide, defended Chappelle

Dorman (pictured at right with an unknown woman) was a comedian and friend of Chapelle

Dorman (pictured at right with an unknown woman) was a comedian and friend of Chapelle

‘Daphne was in awe of Dave’s graciousness,’ her sister Becky told The Daily Beast. ‘She did not find his jokes rude, crude, off-coloring, off-putting, anything.

‘Daphne understood humor and comedy – she was not offended. Why would her family be offended?’

Her younger sister Brandy told The Daily Beast that Chappelle is an ally to the LGBTQ community.

She said: ‘His entire set was begging to end this very situation.’ Chappelle’s family said she also appreciated that humor was about the ability to offend everyone equally – and to be able to laugh at being mocked. 



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