Love him or hate him, Dave Chappelle’s jokes have always tread a VERY fine line with the LGBTQ+ community but this time, many consider that he’s gone too far – and it seems like he’s ok with that.
In his last comedy special for Netflix called The Closer Chappelle went in on trans women, saying he supported JK Rowling and that he considered himself a TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist). He also came out in ‘support’ of DaBaby who himself came under huge amounts of criticism for his on stage comments out people living with HIV/Aids.
Fans of Chappelle will know that he is a reactionary, intentionally controversial comedian with his tongue firmly in his cheek. His act this time though has received criticism from across the board, with Jaclyn Moore, a trans showrunner at Netflix, quitting in protest to them streaming The Closer, saying: “After the Chappelle special, I can’t do this anymore. I won’t work for Netflix again as long as they keep promoting and profiting from dangerous transphobic content.”
The problem is here that his comedy is also subversive. Some would say that by ‘supporting’ DaBaby and JK Rowling he is actually criticising them HOWEVER he sets up a narrative which essentially doesn’t recognise black trans people by pitting trans rights against black rights, essentially denying that you can be both.
Ultimately his brand is to make you squirm and in reality, he’s un-cancellable. He has stepped away from deals worth $50million proving that fame, money and public opinion mean nothing to him. One has to draw the line however when he’s disenfranchising the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. The sheer number of murders of black trans women is set to hit an horrific high this year in the USA so someone with such a high profile on the biggest streaming platform in the world should know better. The only good thing, it seems, is that it keeps the conversation going.