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Dave Chappelle breaks silence following backlash to Netflix special

Dave Chappelle breaks silence following backlash to Netflix special
/ © Cover Media

Dave Chappelle has broken his silence following backlash to his Netflix special The Closer.

The comedian has come under fire since the special, in which he makes controversial remarks about the transgender community, was released in early October, with trans Netflix employees speaking out and protesting the special.

In a video posted on Instagram on Monday, the 48-year-old finally broke his silence and addressed previous reports suggesting that he had turned down a meeting with concerned transgender Netflix employees.

"It was said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true," he said to a crowd that appeared to be at a recent stand-up appearance. "If they invited me, I would have accepted it, although I'm confused about what we're speaking about."

He continued, addressing Netflix employees who staged a walkout in protest of his special last week by saying, "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. Well, it seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore."

The Chappelle Show creator explained that everyone he has met so far from the LGBTQ community has been supportive, and that the backlash he has received is about "corporate interest". Chappelle named Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos as the only person who "didn't cancel me yet", accusing multiple film festivals of excluding his recent film Untitled, which documents his 2020 comedy tour.

The Emmy winner concluded by laying out conditions for transgender people who wish to meet with him to discuss the special.

"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 stated. "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 Australian comedian, who is a lesbian, has heavily criticised his special, calling it an opportunity to "process his emotionally stunted partial world view."

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