Comedian Dave Chappelle commented on the controversy surrounding his latest Netflix special, "The Closer."
Chappelle said that while he would be willing to meet with Netflix employees who staged a walkout in protest of the special, he would not cave to "anybody's demands."
Chappelle made it clear that he stood by his comments, stating "I said what I said."
"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 said. "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."
"I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it that it’s me versus that community, that is not what it is. Do not blame the LBGTQ community for any of this shit. 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 touched on an upcoming documentary on his 2020 summer comedy tour, saying that backlash from "The Closer" has now caused the film to be excluded from 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 said. "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."
Chappelle continued: "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 anybody’s demands. And if you want to meet with me, I’d be 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."