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Venue cancels sold-out Dave Chappelle show after backlash

A Dave Chappelle show has been canceled at the last minute after the venue faced backlash due to his controversial jokes about transgender people. 

Chappelle was set to perform Wednesday evening at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and according to TMZ, the show was sold out. But only hours before he was set to go on, First Avenue announced it had canceled the show and apologized for booking him in the first place.

"To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry," First Avenue said. "We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down."

Since last year, Chappelle has faced ongoing controversy over his jokes about transgender people in his Netflix special The Closer, in which he says that "gender is a fact" and calls himself "team TERF," meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The special prompted significant backlash and an employee walkout at Netflix. 

But the streamer continues to stand by the comedian, recently releasing a speech by Chappelle in which he defends The Closer as a "masterpiece" and blasts students who criticized him as "instruments of oppression." 

Chappelle's Wednesday show went forward despite the cancellation, as it was moved to another venue in Minneapolis, the Varsity Theater. But First Avenue said that it has "worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country" and promised to "continue with that mission."