Comedian Dave Chappelle's alma mater in Washington, DC, has postponed a planned fundraiser after high school students threatened to hold a walkout over comments he made in his recent Netflix comedy special.
Two students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown told Politico Playbook that their peers got into a heated debate with faculty members after they were told they would be expected to help put together an exhibition honoring Chapelle ahead of the Nov. 23 high school school fundraiser.
The students said they felt uncomfortable supporting Chappelle, with many of their fellow classmates identifying as LGBTQ+. Some students talked about staging a walkout if the tribute went forward as planned.
According to the National Review, the fundraiser has been postponed to April 22. The high school had originally elected to cancel the event.
"We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artists's point of view, product or craft, but reject the notion that a 'cancel culture' is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the right and dignity of all of its members," the school said in a statement, according to a newsletter that first broke the news.
Chappelle has given back to his alma mater, which he credits with saving his life, in a number of ways. The comedian has donated $100,000 to the school, gave it one of his Emmy awards in 2017, delivered a commencement address, held a master class for students, and regularly visited campus with other celebrities like actor Bradley Cooper and comedian Chris Tucker.
The uproar comes after Chappelle made controversial comments about transgender people in his Netflix special, saying "gender is a fact."
"The fact is," Chappelle said, "every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth ... Now I am not saying that to say that trans women aren't women, I'm just saying that those p*ssies that they got, y'know what I mean? I'm not saying that's not p*ssy, but that's like 'Beyond P*ssy,' that's 'Impossible P*ssy," the comedy icon said, referencing the latest vegetarian trend in plant-based meat options.
Refusing to apologize to triggered trans activists, Chappelle has since made it clear that he stands by his comments in "The Closer," stating "I said what I said."