“What is a woman?” asked Chappelle at one point. “What is that in this day and time? Is there any such thing as a woman or a man or anything? Seems to be a question nowadays.” He mentioned “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who was criticized by the trans community for being a TERF (“trans exclusionary radical feminist”), that is, someone who says trans women are not women. “I’m team TERF,” said Chappelle. “I agree…gender is a fact.”
Another portion of Chappelle’s routine that has come under fire are his comments about Daphne Dorman, a trans woman who was a friend of Chappelle’s before Dorman committed suicide in 2019. “One of the coolest people I ever met was a transgender woman,” said Chappelle, who described his relationship with Dorman at length as being mutually supportive.
Then Chappelle made a joke about Dorman’s death, saying that only a man would have gone through with a suicide. The audience clearly found this joke more shocking than his others and Chappelle pushed back, saying, “Daphne would’ve loved that joke.”
Reactions to Dave Chappelle
After weeks of uproar, hundreds of Netflix employees staged a walkout Wednesday at the company’s Los Angeles headquarters. The protest reportedly grew strained as Dave Chappelle fans also showed up to counter-protest.
Trans activists have also drafted a list of demands for Netflix. “We want the Company to adopt measures in the areas of Content Investment, Employee Relations and Safety, and Harm Reduction, all of which are necessary to avoid future instances of platforming transphobia and hate speech,” reads the letter in part. Notably, the requests do not include asking Netflix to pull Chappelle’s special, although there is little doubt that “The Closer” and Chappelle’s 2019 special, “Sticks & Stones,” are driving activists’ concerns.
Netflix has defended its decision to air “The Closer,” with co-CEO Ted Sarandos saying that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.” Sarandos has, however, since said he “screwed up” how he handled internal communications with employees. The company recently temporarily suspended three employees for interrupting a leadership meeting and fired employee B. Pagels-Minor for leaking internal communications. Pagels-Minor has denied this allegation and spoke at Wednesday’s protest.
Mohler: Religious Liberty Not Our Only Concern
If American society decides that Dave Chappelle cannot be free to express the view that gender is binary, but says this message is inherently harmful, that will have widespread consequences for Christians who believe the same, Mohler believes.