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‘Disgusting’: Dave Chappelle Emmy nomination for ‘transphobic’ special The Closer sparks uproar

Chappelle was met with huge criticism over his 2021 Netflix special for comments that he was ‘team Terf’ and ‘gender is a fact’

Maanya Sachdeva
Wednesday 13 July 2022 06:38 BST
Netflix employees stage walkout over Dave Chappelle transgender comments

The Emmy awards have sparked a backlash over this year’s nomination of Dave Chappelle’s controversial stand-up special The Closer.

The Emmy 2022 nominations were announced on Tuesday (12 July) ahead of the award ceremony in September this year.

Among the multiple shock nominations and snubs, none stood out more than Chappelle’s nomination for Outstanding Variety Special for The Closer.

Following its release in October last year, Chapelle was met with huge criticism in regards to a number of comments he made during the show, including that he was “team Terf” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), and his claims that the LGBTQ+ community was attempting to destroy the lives of celebrities such as JK Rowling by “cancelling” them.

“Dave Chappelle getting Emmy nominations for his transphobic special is just disgusting, Do better, TV Academy,” one person tweeted.

Another user wrote: “Dave Chappelle’s transphobic stand up special was nominated for an Emmy... I’m sorry I don’t ever want to hear any cishet man complain about cancel culture again.

“F***. This is crushing,” they added.

“Oh, so Dave Chappelle has been cancelled directly into an Emmy nomination,” one tweet read.

“My fear came true and both Dave Chappelle AND Harry Potter are nominated for the Outstanding Variety Special Emmy for the TERFiest category ever,” another said.

Dave Chappelle (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Closer controversy prompted a series of staff resignations and employee protests at Netflix, while CEO Ted Sarandos defended the decision to release Chappelle’s special.

Sarandos later admitted he “screwed up” in his defence of Chappelle’s special over his previous claims that on-screen content doesn’t cause real-world harm.

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In May, Chappelle was attacked by a man who identifies as a bisexual over his “triggering” comments about the LGBTQ+ community, while performing at the Netflix Is A Joke festival at The Hollywood Bowl.

Earlier this week, Netflix released Chappelle’s new special What’s in a Name? – a 40-minute speech that Chappelle made in November at his former school in Washington DC, at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

The speech was made during a planned ceremony to name the school’s theatre after the comedian. Many students, however, opposed the idea over Chappelle’s jokes about the trans community in his The Closer.

While much of the speech covered his years at the school, Chappelle also defended himself against criticism from the current students, calling them “instruments of oppression”.

On 20 June, it was initially reported that the 48-year-old comedian’s alma mater would name its new theatre after him.

However, during a dedication ceremony for the venue later that day, the comedian announced that he would not place his name on the building. Instead, it will be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.

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