Earlier this week, multiple Netflix employees staged a walkout in protest of comedian Dave Chappelle’s recently released standup special, The Closer. Chappelle makes several controversial statements about transgender people in particular during the special, prompting frustration from Netflix’s transgender and transgender ally employees.
According to TMZ, which spoke with Chappelle’s representative, the comic would be more than willing to engage in a civil discussion with the Netflix employees, as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community at large. “Dave stands by his art: No more jokes about transgenders until we can all laugh together,” the representative said, repeating a line from the special.
“The streets are talking and Dave is listening. At some point, when everyone is open, I’m sure the communities will come together,” the representative added.
The woman who organized the walkout, Ashlee Marie Preston, claimed that she reached out to Chappelle’s camp to organize a discussion, but she was ignored. “I invited Dave Chapelle to have a transformative dialogue about the harm that was committed,” she told reporters. “He chose not to show up.” Chappelle’s representatives responded, saying that no one from either the protesting group or Netflix proper had contacted them at any point.
Jon Stewart defends Dave Chappelle: ‘His intention is never hurtful’ https://t.co/TXFyVXs7vx pic.twitter.com/2zHRujuU0n
— New York Post (@nypost) October 22, 2021
Meanwhile, other celebrities, especially comedians, have spoken in support of Chappelle, asserting that while his jokes are often heavy, they have no malicious intent.
“If this spurs a conversation where people get more on the same page in terms of understanding, that’d be great,” former Daily Show host Jon Stewart told TMZ. “But I know his intention is never hurtful. He’s just not that kind of person.”