Dave Chappelle on “SNL”: A timeline of the controversy surrounding his transgender jokes

Dave Chappelle on “SNL”: A timeline of the controversy surrounding his transgender jokes


tonight Dave Chappelle to host “Saturday Night Live” For the third time – an appearance that was met with controversy before even taking the stage.

The comedian has drawn increasing ire in recent years for making jokes aimed at transgender people, and the outcry grew louder last fall when Netflix released a Chappelle special, “closer to,” Where he doubled down on his comments.

Netflix stood by Chappelle, who went on a national tour after the special and largely ignored the controversy after addressing it in her performance.

But his Comments are criticized by fellow comics, fans, trans advocates and some Netflix employees, and a Minnesota venue canceled a Chappelle show this year over the controversy.

Given that context, it was Some are surprising to “SNL” viewers To see him invited back to Studio 8H. Here’s the history of Chappelle’s recent jokes about trans people — and the resulting backlash.

August: in a series of stand-up shows in New York City At Radio City Music Hall, Chappelle made jokes aimed at trans people for at least 20 minutes. Vulture reported. He made explicit jokes about trans people’s bodies and referred to trans people as “transgender,” among other comments, Vulture said.

This isn’t the first joke Chappelle has made at the expense of trans people. But later he delivered them to New York Drawing some responses to previous comments.

“This joke and others in this category suffer from the same problem as its particulars — they are rooted in disgust and generalization,” Vulture wrote of a Chappell joke about ISIS fighters being terrorized by transgender soldiers. “They’re just not good.”

August 26: Netflix released a stand-up special, “Sticks and Stones,” in which Chappelle also starred. Material about trans people, including some material from his Radio City show. In an epilogue to the special, she singled out her friend Daphne Dorman, a trans comedian, who she said got the most laughs at her jokes about trans people.

October 5: Netflix released Chappelle’s special “The Closer.” In this, he is a vehicle An extended tangent about transgenders And makes several jokes at their expense. She misgendered a trans comedian, once again made blatant jokes about trans women’s bodies, and defended TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists.

He referred to trans people as “transgender”, said that “gender is a fact” and later said Doraemon dies by suicide Shortly after he was criticized by other trans people for defending Chappell after “Sticks and Stones”.

At the time Chapel’s special was published, At least 33 states have introduced anti-transgender lawsMuch of this is aimed at young trans people.

October 13: Amid calls for special attention from LGBTQ advocates, fellow comedians, Netflix employees and social justice organizations, Netflix stands next to the chapel.

In a letter obtained by The Verge and Variety, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos told employees that the special would remain available to stream.

“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hatred or violence, and we don’t believe that ‘The Closer’ crosses that line … Some people think of the stand-up art as bad fun, but our members enjoy it. does, and is an important part of our content offering,” Sarandos wrote.

Netflix suspended three employees for attending a virtual meeting of executives to discuss specific matters without notifying the meeting organizer in advance. Among them was Terra Field, a trans senior software engineer who publicly criticized the special and Netflix. His suspension was later lifted.

October 19: Sarandos said diversity He has “saved” his communications with Netflix staff but confirmed that he does not believe the special qualifies as “hate speech”.

October 20: About 65 protesters, including Netflix employees and trans advocates, Participate in a walkout Protesting Netflix’s Support of “The Closer” Protesters called on Netflix to hire more trans and non-binary executives and fund more trans and non-binary talent.

October 24: Three trans stand-up comics told CNN They were disappointed by Chappelle’s jokes, though all three said they considered the once-famous performer a comedic inspiration. While they all agreed that jokes about trans people are not inherently offensive, they said Chappelle’s set was influenced by the same hate speech and language used by anti-transgender critics.

“When he talks about the trans community, he’s not talking about them, he’s talking against them,” comedian Nat Puff told CNN. “And the difference between saying something funny about the trans community and saying something offensive about the trans community.”

A fourth comic, Flame Monroe, the only trans comic whose material is streaming on Netflix, told CNN he believes Chappelle should be allowed to make jokes about trans people, though he was initially surprised by some of his comments.

October 25: the chapel Addressed critics At a show in Nashville, he appeared with podcast host Joe Rogan, who has been criticized for dismissing the effectiveness of vaccines and using racial slurs, among other controversies.

Chappelle released video from the set on her official Instagram account, in which she apparently addressed the trans employees of Netflix who participated in the walkout over “The Closer.”

“Looks like I’m the only one who can’t go to the office anymore,” she said.

“I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it like it’s me versus that community, it’s not,” Chappelle continued. “Don’t blame the LBGTQ (sic) community for all of this — it has nothing to do with them. It’s corporate interests and what I can and can’t say.

“For the record — and I need you to know this — the people I know from the community have been nothing but loving and supportive. So I don’t know what all this nonsense is about.”

July 12: “Closer” was Nominated for two Emmys, including “Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).” Adele later won the category.

July 21: A Minneapolis venue canceled Hours before Chappell’s sold-out show opened its doors, Chappell apologized to “staff, artists and our community” after receiving criticism for hosting it.

“We believe in the freedom of diverse voices and artistic expression, but in honoring it, we’ve lost sight of its impact,” wrote First Avenue, the venue famous for being featured in Prince’s “Purple Rain” movie.

November 5: “Saturday Night Live” announcement Chappell will be its post-midterm host. The negative feedback was quickly.

the field joked on Twitter: “Wait I thought I canceled him. Is it possible that cancellation culture isn’t a real thing??

November 10: The New York Post reports that several “SNL” writers are boycotting Saturday’s episode, with representatives from Chappelle. told CNN No issues with writers or cast members. “SNL’s” current staff includes nonbinary cast member Molly Carney and nonbinary writer Celeste Im.

Chappelle will take the stage live on Saturday at 11:30 pm ET.

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