Comedian Dave Chappelle ‘more than willing’ to meet LGBTQ groups over special

Dave Chappelle said he is ‘more than willing’ to meet LGBTQ groups after his show sparked protests outside the streaming giant’s Los Angeles office last week at which demonstrators said the comedian had refused to speak with them.

In this file photo taken on 10 July 2021 Dave Chappelle looks on during UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Picture: Stacy Revere/AFP

LOS ANGELES – Comedian Dave Chappelle has offered to meet with the transgender community and thanked Netflix for standing by him after he was accused of stoking transphobia with his stand-up special The Closer.

Chappelle said he is “more than willing” to meet LGBTQ groups, after his show sparked protests outside the streaming giant’s Los Angeles office last week at which demonstrators said the comedian had refused to speak with them.

“That is not true. If they had invited me, I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about,” Chappelle said in a video from a recent show in Nashville that he posted to Instagram Monday.

“I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?”

Chappelle provoked anger with a stand-up routine released on Netflix earlier this month in which he asserted that “gender is a fact” and accused the community of being “too sensitive.”

LGBTQ groups condemned The Closer and warned that stereotypes about minorities can lead to real-world harm.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos defended the show, telling staff in a leaked email that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm” and that the company would “support artistic freedom.”

While the co-CEO later apologised for failing to acknowledge the pain felt by LGBTQ employees, he still insisted the show should not be taken down or have any disclaimer added.

“Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet,” said Chappelle in the video.

Speaking to an arena filled with cheering fans, Chappelle said his issue was not with the LGBTQ community but with “corporate interests,” noting that film festivals “began disinviting me” from airing his upcoming documentary film soon after the controversy erupted.

“Do not blame the LGBTQ community…. Everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supporting, so I don’t know what all this nonsense is about,” he said.

“To the transgender community, I’m more than willing to give you an audience,” he added. “But you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands.”

Chappelle’s new documentary Untitled follows the outdoor shows he put on near his rural Ohio home in summer 2020, during pandemic lockdowns and at the height of massive protests against George Floyd’s murder by a police officer in Minneapolis.

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