Dave Chappelle to air new Netflix special two years after The Closer ignited trans row

It will be the comedian’s seventh special to debut on the streaming service

Kevin E G Perry
Thursday 07 December 2023 01:11 GMT
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Netflix employees stage walkout over Dave Chappelle transgender comments

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Dave Chappelle will release a new stand-up special on Netflix on New Year’s Eve.

The news was announced on X/Twitter, with the streaming service’s official Netflix is a Joke account posting a short teaser clip along with the caption: “Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special will launch globally on Netflix, December 31st.”

The as-yet-untitled special will be Chappelle’s seventh for Netflix, a run that began with four released in 2017: The Age of Spin, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Equanimity and The Bird Revelation. He followed those with Stick & Stones in 2019 and The Closer in 2021.

The latter special won Chappelle the Grammy for Best Comedy Album earlier this year, although it had previously drawn heavy criticism for jokes about the transgender community.

Critics accused Chappelle of “transphobic” remarks, such as saying he was “team Terf” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). He was also widely condemned for claiming that the LGBTQ+ community was attempting to “destroy” the lives of celebrities such as JK Rowling by “cancelling” them.

Civil rights advocacy group the National Black Justice Coalition called on Netflix to remove the special from their catalogue.

“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States – the majority of whom are Black transgender people – Netflix should know better,” said the National Black Justice Coalition’s executive director, David Johns.

“Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologise to the transgender community.”

Earlier this year, Chappelle was also criticised by his old friend, fellow US comedian Wanda Sykes, who said his jokes about trans people were “damaging”.

Asked if her Netflix special “balanced out” the content in Chappelle’s, Sykes responded: “I don’t know about balancing it out, because I think what he said was so hurtful and damaging to the trans community.”

Sykes’s sentiments were echoed by a number of social media users, who accused Netflix of profiting from transphobia.

“Netflix is actively endangering transgender people by releasing/promoting the new Dave Chappelle special,” one commenter wrote.

“My father has used Dave’s comments to mock and insult me and I can only imagine the power THIS special will give to transphobes @netflix please remove this from your platform.”

“I tried Chappelle yesterday in all innocence and lasted 10 minutes during which time he was racist, homophobic and transphobic,” another Twitter user said, adding: “@NetflixUK /@netflix sort yourselves out, it’s 2021.”

One tweet read: “@Netflix doesn’t care about its customers. So, it’s time the customers stop caring about Netfix and leave. Do you want your money to go into making a show that is damaging to people?”

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