Dave Chappelle kicked off his now-streaming Netflix special The Closer by letting the audience in attendance (and we're assuming the viewers at home) know whatever the topics are he's about to cover? He's "not saying it to be mean" but "saying it because it is funny." Now the comedian is learning once again that one person's joke is another person's hate-filled insult, with many in the LGBTQ+ community as well a number of LGBTQ+-supporting organizations pushing back on Chappelle, the special, and the streaming service. The comedian's comments ranged from his proudly declaring himself "Team TERF!" (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and his thoughts on what he thinks defines a woman to an odd comparison between rapper DaBaby's homophobic statements from this past summer and systemic racism. "In our country, you can shoot and kill a [n-word], but you better not hurt a gay person's feelings," the comedian argued, referencing a 2018 incident involving the rapper at a North Carolina Walmart in North Carolina that saw another man shot & killed.
Earlier today, GLAAD responded to the comments Chappelle made in the special with the following statement via Twitter: "Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. 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." Following that, the long-standing, LGBTQ community-supporting organization also retweeted a post from Twitter user "HolyBullies" pushing back on what some see as Chappelle looking to place a wedge between the Black and LGBTQ communities: "I would suggest, Mr. Chappelle, that before you start on another one of your stupid routines about #LGBTQ people . . . google some names – Bayard Rustin, Monica Roberts, Barbara Jordan, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde."
National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns didn't mince words on the matter, either; first via a statement on the organization's Twitter account followed by further comments in DH's initial reporting. "Netflix should immediately pull 'The Closer' from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community," Johns urges the streamer, with the full comment below:
It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle's lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform.
With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence.
Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.
Make no mistake: Black LGBTQ+ and same gender people exist – and have always existed. The fight against oppression is not a zero sum game, and the pervasiveness of white supremacy in the United States is not an excuse for homophobia or transphobia.
At the time of the initial reporting, Netflix declined to comment on the controversy, and reps for Chappelle have not responded to requests for comment. Now here's a look at the main promo for Dave Chappelle: The Closer featuring Morgan Freeman, with the stand-up special currently streaming on Netflix: