By Stacy M. Brown
Comedian Dave Chappelle said he’s been disinvited to film festivals, and no company or studio will entertain his new documentary because of the fallout from his controversial Netflix special, “The Closer.”
And while he’s willing to meet with the transgender community and Netflix employees who voiced outrage over his act, Chappelle made it clear that he wouldn’t kowtow to anyone.
“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me,” Chappelle said in a video released early Tuesday.
“I am not bending to anyone’s demands,” he insisted.
Chappelle double-downed on his remarks from The Closer in which many in the LGBTQ community called homophobic. “I said what I said,” Chappelle declared.
He also clarified reports that he has sought meetings with transgender Netflix employees angered by his special.
“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 remarked in the viral video.
“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.”
Chappelle also said he believed any controversy stemmed from corporate interests, and that he’s received support from the LGBTQ community.
Washington Informer Editor D. Kevin McNeir, who is openly gay, has said he didn’t have an issue with Chappelle’s remarks in The Closer.
“I listened closely to what he said and then listened to his explanation for the subjects he had chosen and his rationale for his perspectives. And he made sense. I understood. And I was not offended,” McNeir wrote in an op-ed for the Informer.
Chappelle admits that when he takes on a group of people, making them the focus of his jokes, that he’s also examining himself, seeking the similarities which he shares with the “targets” of his musings and working through the human process of better understanding those who walk along different paths, McNeir stated further.
“I applaud him for that. And I thank him, too,” the editor wrote, noting that, as a “same-gender-loving man of color, I have often found myself being unfairly critical of the ‘T’ portion within the LGBTQ community.”
“I cannot understand why those who make up the transgender community would go through so much pain and oppression because of how they feel inside. But I’ve had my own pain to address and hurdles to overcome. In addition, I’m still dealing with male privilege notions and my own prejudices. This is my truth and my cross to bear,” McNeir insisted.
“Chappelle helped me grow in ways that I believe will remain with me forever. By sharing a brief conversation about a subject that probably confuses a lot of others, he hit a home run.”
In his video, Chappelle said he wants everyone to know that even though the media frames it as Chappelle versus the transgender and LGBTQ community, that’s not the case.
“Do not blame the LBGTQ [sic] community for any of this [mess]. This has nothing to do with them. 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 also spoke about his upcoming documentary about his summer 2020 comedy tour, claiming that it has now been excluded 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,” Chappelle relayed.
“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.”
In the video, Chappelle asked the audience: “Am I canceled or not?”