Dave Chappelle Breaks Silence on The Closer Backlash, Announces U.S. Tour

With controversy continuing to swirl around Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, the comedian has spoken out with more to say about the backlash. Earlier this month, Chappelle premiered The Closer, a new comedy that serves as the last special from his high-dollar deal with Netflix. It has drawn some heavy criticism for its featured jokes about the LGBTQ+ community, with some calling for Netflix to pull the special from the service completely.

Dave Chappelle addressed the situation in a new video clip posted to his Instagram account, apparently filmed at a recent show. In the footage, Chappelle speaks about what’s been said about him in the press, including reports that he refused to meet with transgender employees at Netflix. The comedian denies those claims and says he would have accepted that offer if he was “invited,” while he iterates that he’s not actually prejudiced against the LGBTQ+ community.

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“I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore. I want everyone in the audience to know that even though the media frames it as me versus that community, that’s not what it is. Do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this s–t. This has nothing to do with them. It’s about corporate interests, and what I can say, and what I cannot say.”

Dave Chappelle says that everyone he knows from the community has been “nothing but loving and supportive with him,” referring to the backlash against The Closer as “nonsense.” The comedian goes on to say how he’s willing to meet with Netflix employees to speak about the situation, but he has three conditions, one of which takes a shot at Hannah Gadsby, an openly lesbian Australian comic.

“You will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands… First of all, 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.”

In the footage, Chappelle also addresses some of the ways this new backlash has affected his career. Last year, the comedian had earned wide acclaim for a special he released responding to the death of George Floyd, resuling in invitations to many prestigious film festivals. Because of The Closer controversy, he’s been “disinvited” to many of these festivals. Chappelle then gives thanks to Netflix and Ted Sarandos as “he’s the only one who didn’t cancel me yet.”

There were recent rumors that Dave Chappelle would be touring The Closer if it were to ultimately get pulled from Netflix. That doesn’t seem to be the case, but the comedian did confirm his plans for a 10-city tour in the United States in November. He will be screening the Untitled Dave Chappelle Documentary directed by Steve Bognar and Julia Reichart with a live performance by Chappelle and “friends.” Tickets can be purchased from Live Nation.