Dave Chappelle is willing to speak with the trans community after the backlash he has recently received over the jokes he made during his latest Netflix standup special, ‘The Closer.’ The comedian said he’ll speak with members of the trans community who feel like he’s caused them pain with his LGBTQ+ jokes during the special. He’s encouraging them to contact him to get the conversation started.The backlash against Chappelle is coming from prominent LGBTQ+ organizations and celebrities, who are speaking out against both him and Netflix for giving him a platform. His opponents are upset he spent the last third of his latest Netflix comedy special talking about LGBTQ+ issues, specifically when it comes to the transgender community, in jokes they feel were demeaning.
The comedian’s rep also chimed in on the criticism he has received. His rep said he’s also open to speaking with employees from the streaming service who are upset by remarks he made, if they reach out to him for a discussion. But no one from Netflix has approached Chappelle or his team about setting up a meeting or conversation, his rep also stated.
“Dave stands by his art: No more jokes about transgenders until we can all laugh together. The streets are talking and Dave is listening. At some point, when everyone is open, I’m sure the communities will come together,” the comedian’s rep added.
Activist Ashlee Marie Preston also chimed in on the controversy by leading employees from the streaming service on a walk out last Wednesday, October 20. The walk-out was held at Netflix’s office-studio complex in Hollywood.
Preston refutes Chappelle’s claims that he’s ready to speak with the trans community. She says she invited him to talk about the damage she believe he’s inflicted on the LGBTQ+ community. However, she also claims that he chose not to show up for the meeting.
In response, the comedian’s camp said they’re not sure why Preston made the claims. They added that he’s not against open dialogue with any group, as he stated in his Netflix special jokes.Supporters of the trans community are also calling on the streaming service to repair its relationships with its staff and audience by implementing changes in the hiring of trans executives and increasing spending on trans and nonbinary creators and projects. The trans community is also calling for disclaimers to flag content that includes transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia and hate speech.
In response to the criticism that Chappelle and his comedy special have received, Netflix’s co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, has stated that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” He also wrote that the company doesn’t allow titles that are “designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”