Dave Chapelle Says He’s Open to Meet with Netflix Employees for Dialogue
20:41 GMT 22.10.2021 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 06.08.2022)
© REUTERS / Mario AnzuoniPeople attend a rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout "Stand Up in Solidarity" to protest the streaming of comedian Dave Chappelle's new comedy special, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 20 2021.
© REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni
Dave Chapelle said he’s willing to sit down with Netflix employees who organized a company walkout earlier this week to protest the LGBTQ+ jokes that Chapelle made in his comedy special, “The Closer,” and is waiting for members of the trans community to reach out for talks.
The comedian's representative told TMZ Thursday that “Dave would be open to dialogue if folks from Netflix actually reach out to him for a discussion,” but that no one from Netflix has approached Chapelle or his team about setting up a meeting.
Chapelle’s team allegedly disputed allegations made by transgender woman Ashlee Marie Preston who said Wednesday she invited Chapelle to join protesters at Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters.
Preston, who organized the walkout, made a statement on Twitter last week saying that Chapelle was invited to the table for “transformative dialogue” but did not show up.
Dave Chappelle was not “canceled.” He’s been invited to the table for transformative dialogue but won’t show up. That’s not “cancel culture,” but an avoidance of accountability. He’s no victim. The man is worth $50M. Unlike many trans people his comedy stigmatizes— he’ll live.— Ashlee Marie Preston (@AshleeMPreston) October 13, 2021
Chapelle’s team said they’re not sure what invoked Preston to make those claims.
Over the course of The Closer, which was released earlier this month, the comic weighs in on issues of racism, discrimination and gender identity while tying in the struggle for Black liberation in comparison to the support received by LGBTQ and feminist movements.
Chapelle sparked immediate backlash, including from Netflix employees who walked off the job on Wednesday, after defending J.K. Rowling against being “cancelled” for saying “gender is a fact,” and identifying himself as a “TERF,” or a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
Chapelle’s representative told TMZ Dave was no longer going to continue making jokes that inflicted harm to transgenders.
"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.”
Netflix CO-CEO Ted Sarandos has supported the company’s decision to host the show amid the backlash.
Sarandos reportedly told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “I should have recognized the fact that a group of our employees was really hurting.”
“We have articulated to our employees that there are going to be things you don’t like,” Sarandos said.
“Standup comedy is designed to stir up emotions,” he said, adding that “sometimes inclusion and artistic expression bump into each other.”
Despite the controversy, “The Closer” is currently in the top 10 most popular Netflix shows in the US.