Perspectives: Dave Chappelle's Controversial Netflix Special

Headline Roundup October 16th, 2021

Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix comedy special has been at the epicenter of controversy due to a series of jokes about gender issues and the LGBTQ community. Chappelle quipped that a trans woman's genitalia is "not quite what it is" and declared himself as "team TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist)." "Gender is a fact," Chappelle said during the special. "Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. This is a fact." The comedian has "said repeatedly that he supports trans people." Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos responded to the backlash by saying he and his team "work hard to support" the creative freedom of their talent and that comedy "exists to push boundaries." Some transgender Netflix employees and allies are planning a walkout on Oct. 20 in protest of Chappelle's special. The group criticized the streaming service in an internal organizing message for "continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content."

Most entertainment outlets, which generally tend to lean left, criticized Chappelle's comments as well as how Sarandos responded to the controversy. Outlets across the spectrum prominently featured articles about the news on their home pages, including how Netflix just fired an employee for leaking confidential financial data to Bloomberg. Right-rated voices were more likely to argue that "free speech won and the mob lost," emphasizing how "the whole woke project changes artistic decisions and misshapes art." Left-rated voices were more likely to label Chappelle's latest special as "dangerously transphobic content," with some saying the comedian "blurs the line between victim and bully." 

From the Left
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OPINION

For the past several years, comedian Dave Chappelle has been locked in a vicious cycle of anti-cancel-culture standup comedy. Over six Netflix specials, Chappelle has lashed out at what he views as progressive attempts to cancel him for his incendiary comedy — all while mocking the queer and transgender communities and the Me Too movement and generally doubling, tripling, and sextupling down on the offensive jokes and reactionary politics that people took issue with in the first place.

It’s a fatiguing ouroboros.

Chappelle’s latest special The Closer is possibly his last for the streaming service,...

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From the Right
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OPINION

Asked whether men can give birth, most people wouldn’t respond the way the transgenderism-obsessed Left would prefer. Understanding this, the Left is trying to hector, bully, and censor its way toward establishing a ridiculous new conception of gender as a matter of personal choosing rather than biological fact. That project requires changing the language, ignoring science, and discarding common human experience. Now, it appears to require policing comedy, too.

For espousing the common-sense view in his new Netflix special The Closer, however, comedian Dave Chappelle is being attacked as a “transphobe” by...

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From the Center
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OPINION

The second memo that Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos issued to Netflix staff about Dave Chappelle and stand-up comedy only proves that he doesn’t understand why people are actually upset about how Chappelle approaches transgender people in his new special “The Closer.” In his first response, Sarandos emphasized that even if “some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited … our members enjoy it.” In the second, he again asserts Chappelle’s right to “artistic freedom.” In both, he underlines that neither he nor anyone with sign-off power at Netflix believe that Chappelle’s extensive material on transgender people...

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