‘They want to be feared’: Dave Chappelle slams violent trans activists who tried to cancel him

Jan 25, 2023 | Political News

Comedian Dave Chappelle on Monday slammed left-wing trans activists who resorted to censorship and violence after he made jokes deemed to be “transphobic,” saying these ideologues want to be “feared,” not “loved.”

After Chapelle's 2021 Netflix special “The Closer” came out, the joke-teller as well as the streaming service faced major backlash for his comedic references to transgender people. This led to his Minneapolis show last summer having to switch venues after the first one caved to the mob and canceled him in the name of providing a “safe space.” On the most recent episode of his podcast, The Midnight Miracle, Chappelle slammed the venue as well as the protestors who attempted to cancel him. 

“I guess apparently they had made a pledge to the public at large that they would make their club a safe space for all people, and that they would ban anything they deemed transphobic,” he said. “This is a wild stance for an artistic venue to take, especially one that's historically a punk rock venue.”

The original venue, First Avenue, made the announcement about dropping the comedian for his jokes on Twitter, saying they believe in “diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have.”

The second venue where he ended up performing was made to be a target of left-wing violence as fans lined up to enter the show. Chappelle went on to describe how violent protestors threw eggs and a police barricade at people attending the show.

“These were grown people of various genders and gender identities. They threw eggs. They threw eggs at the [fans] who were lined up to see the show,” he said on the podcast. 

“One lady was so mad with the protesters, she picked up a police barricade. You ever seen one? They look like a bike rack. This bitch picked that barricade up by herself and threw it at the crowd,” he continued. 

“I gotta tell you, it's an amazing feat of strength for a woman,” Chappelle added.

He also claimed that attending his comedy show was treated as a “huge act of defiance” due to his comments in “The Closer,” in which he made jokes about being “tricked” by a transgender woman and likened trans women to white people wearing blackface.

Chappelle continued on, pointing out the hypocrisy of trans activists who claimed the controversial comedy routine would cause violence, but then turned around and committed acts of violence themselves.

“I don't think anyone had any malicious intent. In fact, one of the things that these people, the trans, and their surrogates, always say is that my jokes are somehow gonna be the root cause of some impending violence that they feel like is inevitable for my jokes,” he said. 

“But I gotta tell you, as abrasive as they were, the way they were protesting, throwing eggs at people, throwing barricades, cussing and screaming, [none of my fans] beat 'em up,” he continued, adding that his fans were saying to the protestors, “We love you. Like what are you talking about?”

According to Chappelle, “the gay community is not monolithic,” and there are a “variety of opinions” that they have when it comes to him. However, “there's a thing they do where they deliberately obscure what I think they believe is the intent of my work to make a moment of it.”

He continued: “I'm not even mad that they take issue with my work. Good, fine. Who cares? What I take issue with is the idea that because they don't like it, I'm not allowed to say it.”

“Art is a nuanced endeavor,” he said, adding that his opinions don't fit into the “binary” choices that people try to shove them into. 

“I have a belief that they are trying to take the nuance out of speech in American culture, that they're making people speak as if they're either on the right or the left. Everything seems absolute, and any opinion I respect is way more nuanced than these binary choices they keep putting in front of us. I don't see the world in red or blue,” he said.

“Trying to silence a person like me, I don't think it has anything to do with being loved,” Chapelle added. “They want to be feared. ‘If you say this, then we will punish you. We'll come to First Avenue and f–k your show up and we'll come to the Varsity Theater and f–k your show up.' And they just don't get to do that.”