Dave Chappelle Tried To Deflect Anti-Trans Criticism By Saying Hannah Gadsby Isn’t Funny

Dave Chappelle told the trans community that he would only meet if they first "admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny".

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Dave Chappelle has been in hot water since the release of his Netflix special, The Closer, where he said he was on “Team TERF” while defending JK Rowling’s transphobic comments.

In the special, Chappelle told his audience that “gender is a fact”, likened trans women’s genitals to plant-based meat substitutes, and spoke about how he “beat the shit out of” a lesbian in a nightclub, all while siding with Rowling’s trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) ideals.

“Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth,” said Chappelle.

“I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those pussies that they got… you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not pussy, but it’s Beyond Pussy or Impossible Pussy.”

“It tastes like pussy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.”

While on the topic of LGBTQ+ rights, the comedian also spoke about DaBaby, who was recently slammed for the homophobic remarks he made at Rolling Loud Miami that led to him being dropped from a number of festival line-ups and taken off songs, including Dua Lipa’s ‘Levitating’ remix.

“DaBaby shot and killed a n**** in Walmart in North Carolina. Nothing bad happened to his career,” said Chappelle. “Do you see where I’m going with this?”

“In our country, you can shoot and kill a n****, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”

The comedian ended his special by noting he wouldn’t make any more jokes about the LGBTQ+ community so long as they stopped “punching down on my people”.

The Backlash To Dave Chappelle

Naturally, there was massive backlash to Chappelle’s jokes. But there was also widespread criticism directed at Netflix from the public, Netflix talent, and organisations like GLAAD and The National Black Justice Coalition for their refusal to remove The Closer .

Despite calls to remove the show since its release on October 5, co-CEO Ted Sarandos told staff across the business that The Closer would remain on the platform because it doesn’t cross “the line on hate” as the content “doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm”.

But this criticism of Netflix only got worse when outlets started reporting that a number of employees had been suspended over their criticism of the special — including Terra Field, a trans senior software engineer at the company who publicly tweeted against The Closer. 

While Netflix denies suspending Field for her tweets as “employees are encouraged to disagree openly”, Field was suspended for attending a director-level meeting that she had no authorisation to be in. The Hollywood Reporter also claims that a Black, pregnant staff member was fired for leaking confidential financial information about the cost and return of the comedy special.

Regardless, LGBTQ+ staff at Netflix decided to hold a company walkout — that was supported by content creators, celebrities, and allies — at the Netflix Hollywood headquarters on October 20, in protest of Sarandos’ defence of The Closer. 

The goal of the rally was to get Netflix to revise its processes in approving harmful content, diversify executive leadership, boost the promotion of trans content, and create a new Creative Equity-style fund solely dedicated to trans and non-binary talent.

In an interview with Variety the day before the rally, Sarandos admitted that he “screwed up” in his handling of employee concerns about The Closer.

“I should have led with a lot more humanity… I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made,” Sarandos told Variety. 

“We are trying to support creative freedom and artistic expression among the artists that work at Netflix,” Sarandos continued.

“We do make sure our employees understand this because we’re trying to entertain the world, and the world is made up of folks with a lot of different sensibilities and beliefs and senses of humour — sometimes, there will be things on Netflix that you dislike. That you even find to be harmful.”

Dave Chappelle’s Attack On Hannah Gadsby

Until recently, Dave Chappelle had remained relatively quiet on the criticism he was facing for the jokes made in The Closer. That was until yesterday when the comedian uploaded a video to Instagram addressing the controversy surrounding the Netflix special.

In the five-minute clip, Chappelle shared that, contrary to what has been reported by the press, he had not yet been invited to speak to the transgender employees at Netflix about his comments.

“If they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about. I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said,” said Chappelle. “My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I’m the only one who can’t go to the office anymore.”

“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone’s demands,” Chappelle continued before listing the “conditions” trans people would have to follow to meet with him.

“First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”


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A post shared by Dave Chappelle (@davechappelle)

Almost immediately people noted how concerning it was for Chappelle to randomly attack Gadsby in the current climate, considering he made jokes about “beating up” lesbian women in the very same stand-up performance he’s facing criticism for.

It’s very likely that Gadsby was actually on Chappelle’s mind because of her recent criticism of Netflix using her name to justify the support of The Closer under the guise of content diversity.

“We are working hard to ensure marginalised communities aren’t defined by a single story,” Sarandos said to staff in another internal memo when the backlash started. “So we have Sex Education, Orange Is The New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby, and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.”

In response to this staff note going public, Gadsby slammed the Netflix executive for using her name to defend Chappelle’s anti-trans comments.

“I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess,” the Aussie comedian wrote on Instagram. “Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets $20 million to process his emotionally stunted partial world view.”

“You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real-world consequences of the hate speech dog-whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted,” she continued. “Fuck you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do shits with more backbone than you.”

“That’s just a joke! I definitely didn’t cross a line because you just told the world there isn’t one.”


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A post shared by Dr. Hannah Gadsby (@hannah_gadsby)

But despite how hard Dave Chappelle tries to deflect attention away from criticism of his anti-trans jokes, the fact remains that Hannah Gadsby’s Emmy and Peabody award-winning Netflix specialNanette, is very funny. In fact, for her 2019 Emmy for Best Writing (Variety Special), Gadsby beat out comedians Adam Sandler, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes for the award.

Nanette has a 100 percent critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Gadsby being widely praised for her ability to dive into traditionally unfunny issues like homophobia, misogyny, and mental health in a raw but comedic way.