Dave Chappelle is in hot water for transphobic and homophobic comments he made in his latest Netflix standup special, The Closer.
The National Black Justice Coalition are asking Netflix to take down Chappelle’s special, in which he called himself a TERF–a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. TERFs believe that trans women shouldn’t be included in the study and practice of feminism, which they believe should only apply to cispeople assigned female at birth. People online have used TERF ideology to describe comments made by authors J.K. Rowling and Chimananda Ngozi Adichie. In fact, within his special, Chappelle gives his support to Rowling.
“Gender is a fact,” he said in his special, according to Deadline. “Every human being in this room, every hman being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.”
As Deadline points out, Chappelle does not bring up the fact that a third of births in the U.S. occur via C-section, negating his point about the universality of vaginal births. He also describes the genitalia of trans women as being “not quite what it is.” Doubling down even more, Chappelle alluded to the outrage surrounding recent DaBaby’s homophobic comments equating AIDS and HIV to dirtiness as being unfair in the face of the nation’s ongoing fight against racism by mentioning the 2018 incident involving DaBaby that resulted in a man dying after being shot.
“In our country, you can shoot and kill a [n-word], but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings,” he said.
The coalition’s executive director David Johns gave a statement to Deadline, saying how “deeply disappointing” it is to hear Chappelle‘s comments aired on an international stage like Netflix.
“It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform,” he said. “With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States–the majority of whom are Black transgender people–Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community. Make no mistake: Black LGBTQ+ and same gender people exist–and have always existed. The fight against oppression is not a zero sum game, and the pervasiveness of white supremacy in the United States is not an excuse for homophobia or transphobia.”
GLAAD also released a statement via Twitter by retweeting an NPR review critical of the special and writing, “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”
The organization also retweeted a post that read, “I would suggest, Mr. Chappelle, that before you start on another one of your stupid routines about #LGBTQ people…google some names–Bayard Rustin, Monica Roberts, Barbara Jordan, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde.”
Dear White People EP Jaclyn Moore has stated on Twitter that she would not work with Netflix “as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”
“I love so many people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art…But I’ve been thrown against walls because, ‘I’m not a ‘real’ woman.’ I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done,” she wrote. “…He says we don’t listen. But he’s not listening. Those words have real world consequences. Consequences that every trans woman I know has dealt with. Bruises and panicked phone calls to friends. That’s real.”
“So when he says people should be mad a trans woman won a ‘Woman of the Year’ award…When he misgenders…When he says he should’ve told that mother her daughter WAS A DUDE…I just can’t…I can’t be a part of a company that thinks that’s worth putting out and celebrating,” she continued.
Neither Netflix nor Chappelle’s spokespeople have made comments about the outrage.