Comedian Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix special, The Closer, has received a great deal of criticism from trans rights activists following its release on Oct. 5, 2021. The five-time Emmy Award winner and three-time Grammy Award winner came under widespread scrutiny for his jokes about trans people. So, what's going on? Is Dave Chappelle canceled?
So, why is Dave Chappelle being canceled? What did he say?
In The Closer, Dave revisits the controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling's June 2020 tweets that implicitly attacked the transgender community. J.K. was called a TERF — which stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist — for "stating that sex is real" and doubling down to say it "isn't hate to speak the truth." In his new Netflix show, Dave describes himself as "Team TERF," stating that "gender is a fact."
"I'm team TERF ... 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. That is a fact," Dave said, per Vanity Fair. "Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren't women, I am just saying that those p----es that they got ... you know what I mean? I'm not saying it's not p---y, but it's Beyond P---y or Impossible P---y."
Much like J.K.'s comments, Dave's jokes were met with disappointment.
"Murdered. Beaten. Raped. Too many trans people experience violence. Nothing funny about that, and Black trans women suffer disproportionately. #DaveChappelle doesn't sound funny to me when I have to fear for people I love," tweeted @mayawiley.
"Nothing Dave Chappelle says changes the facts that trans women are women, trans men are men, non-binary people are non-binary, that LGBTQ+ people should live free of harm and discrimination. He is wrong. And Netflix has empowered him to be wrong loudly," wrote @ItsDanaWhite.
As other Twitter users like @WeekesPrincess pointed out, Dave seems to believe that trans people don't experience racialized oppression and abuse. A handful of others had concerns about the quality of his jokes.
Is Dave Chappelle really being canceled?
While Dave's comments caused a splash on Twitter, Netflix has yet to remove The Closer from its content library.
Three Netflix employees were suspended after crashing a meeting intended for senior executives to make their discontent heard. Terra Field, a senior software engineer at Netflix, posted a tweet on Oct. 6, 2021, in which she predicted that some would defend Dave on the grounds that his remarks had merely caused "offense."
"I work at @netflix. Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness — all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups. You're going to hear a lot of talk about 'offense.' We are not offended," Terra wrote.
"Being trans is actually pretty funny if you're someone who actually knows about the subject matter. How could volunteering for a second puberty *not* be funny? That isn't what he is doing though. Our existence is 'funny' to him — and when we object to his harm, we're 'offended,'" Terra added.
Terra and the two other employees who attended the meeting have since been reinstated into their roles.
"If this is what being canceled is like, I love it," Dave reportedly responded to the backlash.
"If this is what being canceled is like, I love it," Dave reportedly said on Oct. 7, 2021, at the live screening of his new documentary at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
He is set to perform a handful of shows in the U.K. in October 2021 before joining Joe Rogan for a performance at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.