Dave Chappelle jokes about 'being canceled' amid transphobic jokes controversy

Dave Chappelle
(Image credit: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Dave Chappelle at an event on Thursday night joked about "being canceled" while slamming Twitter and the media as he faces controversy over jokes about transgender people in his latest Netflix special.

The comedian performed Thursday after a screening of Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary in Los Angeles, and after receiving a standing ovation, he quipped, "If this is what being canceled is like, I love it," The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Chappelle was alluding to the fact that he has been under fire since the release of his newest Netflix special, The Closer, in which he says that "gender is a fact" and calls himself "team TERF," a term meaning trans-exclusionary radical feminist, while defending J.K. Rowling over her anti-trans remarks. GLAAD in a statement said that "Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities," while the National Black Justice Coalition called for Netflix to remove the special, saying, "Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence." Jaclyn Moore, executive producer of Netflix's Dear White People, also said she won't work with Netflix again while it continues to "profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content."

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While not directly addressing this criticism, according to the Reporter, Chappelle at the Thursday event proclaimed, "F--- Twitter. F--- NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid a-- networks. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to you. This is real life." His remark slamming Twitter received a "big roar" from the audience, Deadline reports. Chappelle has also been criticized for jokes about transgender people in previous specials, and in The Closer, he jokes that he doesn't "give a f---" about being "dragged" online "because Twitter is not a real place." He also says that he has "never had a problem with transgender people," joking, "My problem has always been with white people."

Stevie Wonder also spoke at the event on Thursday, according to the Reporter, telling the crowd, "What we need to cancel is hate."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.