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Dave Chappelle to headline Netflix festival because cancel culture isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Gary Grimes December 7, 2021
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Dave Chappelle sits onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame )

In yet another sign that cancel culture isn’t real, Dave Chappelle has been announced as a headliner for an upcoming Netflix comedy festival.

Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival will take place from April 28 to May 8, 2022 in Los Angeles, and will welcome comedians including Ali Wong, Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, Kevin Hart, Tina Fey and Wanda Sykes.

Netflix has also given Chappelle a slot on the line-up, just weeks after the comedian claimed he was being “cancelled“.

Chappelle has found himself embroiled in backlash since the release of his Netflix special The Closer, which included vulgar, “transphobic” jokes, including ones about trans women’s genitals. He also said he was on “team TERF”.

Despite intense backlash from the LGBT+ community, allies and queer and trans entertainers, Netflix has refused to cut ties with Chappelle or to censor the special.

The streamer’s co-CEO has refused to categorise Chappelle’s transphobic jokes as hate speech, despite GLAAD explaining how such words can lead to real-world harm.

Members of the community reacted to the news Chappelle would play the Netflix festival with disdain.

“Our hard won rights for equality are slowly being eroded. Change doesn’t happen at once, it’s made of small shifts throughout years,” wrote one Twitter user. “Enabling a hater and giving them a stage is deepening that direction.”

“Can’t believe Dave Chappelle is out there crying wolf about being cancelled WHILE ON STAGE WITH AN AUDIENCE, especially now that he’s been announced as Netflix’s headliner for the upcoming festival,” another user said.

A third accused Netflix of specifically setting our to profit from the pain suffered by the trans community: “Netflix saw ppls’ pain + thought ‘ooh let’s start a festival to give this man more opportunity to do harm. We’ll get richer for it!'”

Dave Chappelle labelled ‘bigot’ – but won’t stop making anti-LGBT+ jokes

After the release of the Chappelle special, it was reported that numerous Netflix employees had flagged the content as being offensive and inflammatory to bosses days before it dropped.

Despite these warnings, Netflix proceeded to release the special in full, ultimately leading to a staff walk out on October 20 that was supported by queer comedians Hannah Gadsby and Mae Martin, trans actor Elliot Page, and queer actor Jameela Jamil.

One Black trans employee, B Pagels-Minor, who participated in the protest was later fired after being accused of leaking confidential information on the economics and viewership of the hour-long special.

Chappelle’s festival slot announcement is the latest opportunity handed to the comedian despite the ongoing backlash.

In November, he received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album, and earlier in the month it was announced that a theatre at his old high school in Washington, DC, will be named in his honour.

Upon returning to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts for a recent fundraiser, Chappelle was lambasted as a “bigot” by students for his anti-LGBT+ remarks. “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” one student reportedly told the comedian in a questions and answers session.

“My friend, with all due respect, I don’t believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day,” Chappelle replied.

“We recognise that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist’s point of view, product or craft,” the school said in a statement confirming the theatre will be named after him, “but reject the notion that a ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the rights and dignity of all its members.”

Additionally, it was recently reported that Chappelle has continued to make anti-LGBT+ remarks in his stand-up, including the alleged use of the slur ‘f****t’ in a set he performed ahead of a screening of his upcoming documentary Untitled in New York.

Chappelle has said he is willing to meet with trans people, but he would have “some conditions”, including: “You must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”

Netflix has been contacted for comment.

More: cancel culture, Dave Chappelle, netflix

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