Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue accused of ‘popularising antisemitism’

CEO of the Anti-Defamation League among those to criticise the comedian after his hosting stint over the weekend

Peony Hirwani
Monday 14 November 2022 09:25 GMT
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has criticised Saturday Night Live for “not just normalising but popularising antisemitism”, following Dave Chappelle’s monologue in the latest episode.

The comedian referenced Kanye West’s ongoing antisemitism controversy while hosting the late-night show on Saturday 12 November.

He began by issuing a statement: “I denounce antisemitism in all its forms and I stand with my friends in the Jewish community. And that, Kanye, is how you buy yourself some time.”

However, he then proceeded to reference a number of the antisemitic conspiracy theories previously cited by West.

“He broke the showbusiness rules,” Chappelle said. “If they’re Black, then it’s a gang, if they’re Italian then it’s a mob, but if they’re Jewish then it’s a coincidence and you should never speak about it.”

Chappelle name-checked NBA star Kyrie Irving, who was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets after he shared a link to an antisemitic movie on social media.

“I’ve been to Hollywood and—no one get mad at me—I’m just telling you what I saw,” he later added. “It’s a lot of Jews. Like a lot. But that doesn’t mean anything, you know what I mean? Because there are a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri, it doesn’t mean we run the place.” Chappelle then said that the “delusion that Jews run show business” is “not a crazy thing to think,” but “it’s a crazy thing to say out loud”.

Soon after Chappelle's monologue, Greenblatt criticised his words on Twitter, writing: “We shouldn’t expect @DaveChappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see @nbcsnl not just normalise but popularise antisemitism.

“Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?” he added.

His criticism was echoed by other figures including Time Out New York’s theatre editor Adam Feldman, who tweeted: “That Dave Chappelle SNL monologue probably did more to normalise antisemitism than anything Kanye said.”

“It’s no surprise that Chappelle used his platform on SNL to minimise Kanye and Kyrie’s antisemitism and tell antisemitic jokes,” Alejandra Carabello tweeted. “Transphobia and antisemitism are nearly a perfect circle in a Venn diagram. When someone tells you who they are, believe them.”

Greenblatt was recently involved in lobbying for Adidas to end its partnership with Ye, which took place weeks after the antisemitism row first errupted, not, as Chappelle claimed, “immediately”.

The CEO is also working with the brand to launch an anti-hate programme.

“Proud to be working with @adidas on a new multi-stage partnership that will allow @ADL to create a new anti-hate curriculum for school athletes, help tackle antisemitism and bigotry in sports, and scale up our #antisemitism education programs across the country,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter last week.

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