Dave Chappelle is denying claims that he declined to speak with Netflix’s transgender employees regarding controversial comments he made in his comedy special The Closer.
In a new video posted today (October 25) on Instagram, the comedian said he’s aware of the backlash and that he’s now ready for a meeting — under certain conditions.
“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,” Chappelle says during the 5-minute clip speaking to the crowd. “If they had invited me, I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about. 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 who can’t go to the office.”
He went on to speak directly to the transgender community by saying he’s willing to give them an audience but “you will not summon me.” He had specific conditions that he laid out in the clip: “I am not bending to anyone’s demands. 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.”
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Gadsby was among the high-profile stars and comedians who joined organizations like GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition to come forward following the October 5 debut of The Closer to denounce Chappelle’s commentary. This included statements siding with J.K. Rowling as “team TERF,” a term that means trans-exclusionary radical feminist, an ideology that does not consider trans women to be women. He also stated that “gender is a fact” and went on to poke fun at trans bodies and the cultural sensitivities of his previous jokes aimed at the LGBTQ community. The outcry inspired a walkout last week that saw Netflix employees and allies take to the streets outside the streamer’s Hollywood offices for a demonstration.
“I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it that it’s me versus that community, that’s not what it is,” Chappelle continued in today’s clip, shared to his 2.3 million followers with comments turned off. “Do not blame the LGBTQ community for any of this. It’s about corporate interests, and what I can say, and what I cannot say. For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been loving and supportive, so I don’t know what this nonsense is about.”