Dave Chappelle responds to his own former school postponing his planned appearance

Comedian reportedly laughed off the move in a recent stand-up performance

Ellie Harrison
Monday 15 November 2021 09:34
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Dave Chappelle breaks silence following backlash to Netflix special
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Dave Chappelle has responded to his own former school postponing his planned appearance at a fundraiser over threats of a student walk-out.

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown said students were uncomfortable with Chappelle’s remarks on transgender people in his Netflix special, The Closer. The fundraiser was originally scheduled for 23 November but has now been moved to 22 April next year.

The money raised would have gone towards a new theatre named after Chappelle.

Making light of the situation at a recent show in Indianapolis, Chappelle said he “can’t even raise money for children”.

According to The Indianapolis Star, he added: “They’re cancelling stuff I didn’t even want to do.”

The school had originally planned to cancel the fundraiser, but the comedian has been a big supporter of the school over the years, donating $100,000 and giving it one of his Emmy Awards in 2017.

In a statement on its website, the school wrote: “As a learning institution that champions inclusivity, diversity, equity and belonging, we care deeply about protecting the well-being and dignity of every member of our student body, faculty and community.

“We also believe moving forward with the event, originally scheduled for November 23, 2021, without first addressing questions and concerns from members of the Ellington community, would be a missed opportunity for a teachable moment.”

In his comedy special, Chappelle declared himself “team TERF” (which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and made a number of jokes many have considered “transphobic”.

In a video posted to Instagram, Chappelle later addressed the criticism and doubled down on his stance: “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 went on to say: “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.”

The remark directed at Gadsby is a reply to the comedian’s recent criticism of Chappelle and Netflix for airing the special which she labelled “hate speech”.

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