Patton Oswalt declares support for trans rights after backlash over Dave Chappelle performance
Patton Oswalt has apologised for any “hurt” he caused fans after sharing that he had performed alongside embattled comedian Dave Chappelle.
Oswalt shared in a post on Instagram on Friday (31 December) that he was invited to perform a surprise guest set after Chappelle discovered he was performing nearby.
The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star posted a picture of himself alongside Chappelle, saying he couldn’t “ask for much more” than ending the year “with a real friend and a deep laugh”.
Oswalt faced swift backlash for appearing alongside Chappelle, whose recent Netflix special The Closer was slammed for making cruel jabs against trans people. Instead of apologising, Chappelle had decried so-called “cancel culture” for the controversy surrounding the show, which sparked a walk out among Black and trans Netflix staff.
In a follow-up post, Oswalt shared that he posted the photos as he hadn’t met with Chappelle, who he has known “since we’re teens”, in a “long time”. But despite being friends for over three decades, he said they “also 100 per cet disagree about transgender rights and representation”.
“I support trans peoples’ rights – ANYONE’S rights – to live safely in the world as their fullest selves,” Oswalt wrote. “For all the things he’s helped ME evolve on, I’ll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues.”
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However, Oswalt believed there was hope that Chappelle could change his stance in the future. He described the comedian as a “seeker” who is not “done evolving, learning”.
Oswalt added it was “impossible” to cut Chappelle off as he had known the other man “that long” and seen “the struggles and changes”.
“Also, I’ve been carrying a LOT of guilt about friends I’ve cut off, who had views with which I couldn’t agree, or changed in ways I couldn’t live with,” Oswalt explained.
He continued: “Sometimes I wonder – did I and others cutting them off make them dig their heels in deeper, fuel their ignorance with a nitro-boost of resentment and spite?”
The BoJack Horseman voice actor assured fans that he is “an LGBTQ ally” as well as a “loyal friend”. He then apologised for not considering the “hurt this would cause” or the “DEPTH of that hurt”.
Patton Oswalt also acknowledged that he had “naively” deleted several comments including “critical ones from LGBTQ writers” and “s**t-posts by TERF/anti-trans orcs looking for clicks and giggles”.
He admitted he wanted a “nice comment thread” about the “pic with my friend”.
“Ugh. So easy to think someone ELSE needs growth and miss the need in yourself. Gonna keep trying,” Oswalt wrote.