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Dave Chappelle addresses ‘Closer’ Netflix special controversy

Dave Chappelle is addressing his controversial Netflix comedy special “The Closer” after his comments about the trans community raised some eyebrows.

The comedian, 48, shared a five-minute video on Instagram Monday where he performed stand-up and responded to the backlash.

Chappelle stated that he will meet with transgender Netflix employees; however, he won’t be “bending to anybody’s demands.”

“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone’s demands,” Chappelle said in the clip.

“The Closer” led to a walkout at Netflix by transgender employees after a trans senior software engineer, Terra Field, was suspended for slamming Chappelle on Twitter.

Chappelle seemingly appeared unapologetic about his remarks, saying, “I said what I said.

“It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true — if they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about,” Chappelle continued. “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. It seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”

The funnyman continued: “And if you want to meet with me, I am more than willing to, but I have some conditions … 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.”

Chappelle went on to explain that “the media frames it that it’s me versus that community, that is not what it is. Do not blame the LBGTQ [sic] community for any of this sh–.

“This has nothing to do with [the LGBTQ community]. It’s about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say,” Chappelle said. “For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been loving and supporting, so I don’t know what all this nonsense is about.”

Chappelle then revealed that his upcoming documentary about his summer 2020 comedy tour has been expelled from film festivals.

“This film that I made was invited to every film festival in the United States and some of those invitations I accepted. When this controversy came out about ‘The Closer,’ they began disinviting me from these film festivals,” the “You’ve Got Mail” star insisted. “And now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film. Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet.”

Ted Sarandos
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos.
Getty Images

In a memo sent to Netflix employees earlier this month, Sarandos said that the streaming service will not take down the special. Gadsby blasted Sarandos and Chappelle over their response.

“As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful,” the streamer’s CEO wrote.

He went on: “Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles [on] Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”

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Tina Sanders

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