Dave Chappelle's controversial Netflix special wins a Grammy
Grammy voters are standing by Dave Chappelle.
Chappelle won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album on Sunday for his controversial Netflix special The Closer, which sparked backlash over its jokes about transgender people.
Released in 2021, The Closer featured Chappelle saying that "gender is a fact" and joking that he is "team TERF," meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist, while defending J.K. Rowling, who has been criticized for anti-trans tweets. The special was accused of being transphobic at the time, sparking backlash and an employee walkout at Netflix. "Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities," GLAAD said. Chappelle also defended DaBaby in the special after the rapper made homophobic comments.
But Netflix's CEO defended Chappelle, and the streamer later released a speech he delivered where he blasts his student critics as "instruments of oppression."
This marked Chappelle's fourth Grammy win for Best Comedy Album. It was also the second consecutive year that the Grammys awarded Best Comedy Album to a controversial comedian. In 2022, the winner was Louis C.K., who admitted to allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017. C.K. was nominated again in 2023.
"We won't restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told The Wrap in 2021 after criticism over the nominations for C.K. and disgraced musician Marilyn Manson. "We won't look back at people's history, we won't look at their criminal record, we won't look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration."