The drama surrounding Dave Chappelle’s Netflix original comedy special The Closer persists, and the comedian is finally speaking out amid a firestorm of conversation and controversy.
During a recent appearance at the premiere event for his untitled documentary film, Chappelle publicly broached the topic of the offense members of the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly those who work at Netflix, say they have taken from his latest standup special.
Chappelle acknowledged rumors in the press stating that he was invited to speak with transgender members of Netflix’s staff, yet refused. He calls these stories false, and assures the crowd that had he been invited, he absolutely would have attended a meeting. However, he makes it clear that he would find such a meeting pointless.
“If they would have invited me, I would have accepted it. Although, I am confused about what we are speaking about,” he said. “I said what I said, and boy…I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?”
“I want everyone in the audience to know, that even though the media frames it as though it’s me versus that community, it’s not,” he went on. “Do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this shit. This has nothing to do with them. It’s about corporate interests, and what I can say and what I cannot say,” he said to a crowd of cheers.
However, Chappelle stresses that any meeting he has with any offended members of the LGBTQIA+ community will happen on his terms only.
“To the transgender community: I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me,” he said. “I am not bending to anybody’s demands,” he asserted before detailing the specific conditions under which he would be willing to hear anyone out over their offense and concerns.
“First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end,” he said. “You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing. And third, you must admit that [queer Australian comedian and critic of Chappelle] Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”
This comes just after a tumultuous week at Netflix, as one Black, pregnant member of the staff who co-organized their much-maligned company walkout was fired amid suspicion that they leaked confidential company information to the press, and another Black trans organizer has been exposed for past racially offensive tweets.
Chappelle posted the five-minute clip to announce the nationwide screening tour of his untitled documentary film. No word yet on if a meeting between Chappelle and any concerned or offended parties will truly occur. Check out his full commentary clip above.