While comedian Dave Chappelle promised to stop punching down on the LGBTQ community, saying he would stop making jokes about transgender people at the end of a comedy special full of transphobic jokes, during a performance at Madison Square Garden he hedged his words.
And then proceeded to use an anti-gay slur and make jokes about his relationship with the trans community and pronouns.
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In The Closer, Chapelle announced he is a transgender exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) before launching into a derogatory diatribe about transgender women’s genitals.
The co-CEO of the company, Ted Sarandos, refused to remove the special and claimed at the time that it does not cross any lines and that Chapelle is simply too popular to remove. Sarandos has since expressed regret for the way he handled the situation.
Chappelle has made it a point to talk about the backlash to his special, claiming he has been “canceled” while continuing to perform around the country to sold-out crowds.
“I’m telling you: It’s done. I’m done talking about it,” Chappelle said at the end of The Closer, saying he wouldn’t make jokes about LGBTQ people until “we can laugh together.”
But at Madison Square Garden, the comedian noted that audience members were required to lock their phones into bags before the show began to prevent recording – and hedged his promise.
He said the promise only counted if the show wasn’t being recorded.
“Week four of being canceled,” he sighed before talking about a racist neighbor who had shown up at his door. His wife gave him a gun to protect himself and he joked that “faggot” would be the last word the man said to him.
And if he was sent to prison for killing him, he added, he would simply identify as a woman so jail wouldn’t be as difficult.
He said that he had offered to pay for therapy or rehab for his neighbor but didn’t want the news getting out so that transgender people didn’t show up on his doorstep asking for his help to pay for surgeries.
He also continued gloating that being canceled was good for business. The right and anti-transgender activists have turned the comedian into a cause célèbre.
Last month, a city council member in Virginia who faced criticism for wearing blackface compared himself to Chappelle, saying that, like the transphobic comedian, he doesn’t “go around walking on eggshells, worried about hurting someone’s feelings.”
Earlier this week, two transgender Netflix employees dropped a complaint they filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding how the company treated them in the midst of the controversy. Along with dropping the complaint, one of those employees, Terra Field, also announced her resignation from the company.
“I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said,” Chappelle told the audience in a recent live performance he posted. “My God, how could I not. You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I am the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”
Madison Square Garden has 20,000 seats and Chappelle made over $24 million dollars for The Closer. Netflix would not confirm that it had even paid the two former employees a severance package.