Dave Chappelle, 48, has been a popular comedian for decades. He’s won five Emmy Awards, three Grammy awards, and the Mark Twain Prize for his stand-up comedy work and “Chappelle’s Show” which ran from 2003-2006.
However, his most recent stand-up special, “The Closer” stirred huge controversy online due to comments Chappelle made about the trans community.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos backed Chappelle and decided to stand behind the comedian, which led to an employee walkout, hoping for more protections and safer working conditions for trans employees. The walkout was supported by several celebrities, including those who work closely with Netflix, like Billy Eichner and Jonathan Van Ness.
Even despite the controversy, Chappelle seemingly couldn’t help but add fuel to the fire as he addressed the backlash in a statement, saying, “They 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 this audience to know.”
Calling Out Hannah Gadsby
In a recent video, Chappelle addressed his audience, saying, “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,” he 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.”
Hannah Gadsby is a 43-year-old Australian comedian. After winning the Raw Comedy Competition for new comedians in 2006, she became a household name after the release of her Netflix special, “Nanette.” The stand-up comedy special received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special and a Peabody Award.
Gadsby is a lesbian and often mentions her sexuality in her standup routines. Sarandos dragged her name into the controversy in a memo to staff when he listed her as an example of the “diverse content” that Netflix provides.
She responded quickly on Instagram, mentioning the “hate and anger” that she was now receiving from fans of Chappelle.
“Hey, Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess,” she wrote. “You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real-world consequences of the hate speech dog-whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted.”
Social Media Response
Fans immediately took to Twitter to share their opinions and take sides in the ongoing feud.
“When Hannah Gadsby detailed her experience as a lesbian being beaten up at a bar, men rushed in to tell her how unfunny she was,” one fan wrote. “When Dave Chappelle detailed his experience of beating up a lesbian at a bar, the EXACT SAME MEN rushed in to defend how f–kin’ hilarious he was.”
“hannah gadsby wanted the exact opposite of this when she told the ceo of netflix not to use her comedy special’s success to justify how ‘inclusive’ he claims his service is while also supporting dave chappelle’s explicitly harmful transphobia,” another shared.
“This Hannah Gadsby/Dave Chappelle drama is really dumb because Hannah Gadsby is Funny and Talented and Dave Chappelle is Boring and Old,” another tweeted. “Chappelle has gone the way of Sandler and Seinfeld, refusing to get new bits because these ones have been making money for decades. Snooze.”
Other fans raised eyebrows as to why Chappelle would target Gadsby directly. Another fan wrote, “Plenty of other people have stated their negative stances on Netflix defending Dave Chapelle, but he singles out Hannah Gadsby. Uh huh.”