Dave Chappelle has finally fired back at critics asking for Netflix to “cancel” and remove his latest special, “The Closer.” The stand-up special has been causing a lot of issues between Chappelle and members of the LGBTQIA+ community since its debut earlier this month. While many have pushed for Netflix and Dave to address the blowback, he did not respond until now. Via his Instagram account, Dave Chappelle posted a 5min clip with the caption “LET’S GO!!! Screening of “Untitled” Dave Chappelle Documentary directed by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. Plus Live appearance by Dave Chappelle & Friends.” This was followed by several dates in November for key cities like San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Toronto. The caption concluded with “Get Tickets @livenation.”
In the clip, Dave says that claims that he did not want to speak to the trans employees of Netflix were not true. “if they had invited me, I would have accepted it. Although I’m confused of what we’re speaking about.” He calls them out for wanting a “safe working environment at Netflix,” however, the only one that cannot come to Netflix safely is him. “It seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.” The comedian claims that the media is making it seem as if it is him versus the LGBTQIA+ community but in fact is really a battle over what he can say and not say.
“For the record, everyone I know from that community has nothing but loving and supporting,” he says. He goes on to say thank god for Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, who is the only one that has not canceled him. Chappelle reveals he is more than willing to give protest organizers an audience, but he will not be summoned. “I am not bending to anybody’s demands.” He goes on to say, “Anyone who wants to meet with him has to meet the following conditions. You cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing, at a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.” He goes on to say that as a result of backlash over The Closer, he began being uninvited from film festivals that had wanted to feature his special 8:46. He released 8:46 last summer as a tribute to George Floyd. He says now, “no one will touch this film.”
Protest organizer Ashlee Marie Preston maintains that her team reached out to Chappelle to discuss the documentary but that he refused to talk with them. “This isn’t an instance of cancel culture but I have invited Dave Chappelle to have a transformative dialog with us on multiple occasions.” She goes on to say that it is an “avoidance of accountability” on Dave’s part and not an interest to him. Preston and protesters swarmed the Netflix headquarters with a list of demands, including that the streaming giant features more trans-inclusive shows and programming.