Dave Chapelle is facing widespread backlash from the LGBTQ+ community over comments he made about the transgender community in his latest Netflix special, The Closer.
The Closer, which premiered on Tuesday on Netflix, saw the stalwart comedian align himself with trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs), and defend Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has been accused of spouting transphobic rhetoric.
Critiques of Rowling were sparked after the author took aim at an article on Twitter that referred to “people who menstruate,” suggesting that it was wrong to not use “women.”
After receiving criticism for her response, Rowling doubled down by publishing a 3,700-word essay on gender, sex, and abuse: “I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators,” she wrote.
During The Closer, which was one of the most-watched pieces of content on Netflix, the 48-year-old comedian said that he “agrees” that “gender is a fact,” in defense of Rowling being labeled a “Terf.”
“They canceled JK Rowling – my God. Effectually she said gender was fact, the trans community got mad as shit, they started calling her a Terf … I’m team Terf,” he said.
“Gender is a fact,” Chappelle said. “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.
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“Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those pussies that they got… you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not pussy, but it’s Beyond Pussy or Impossible Pussy. It tastes like pussy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.”
Chapelle’s comments prompted a response from LGBTQ+ organizations GLAAD and The National Black Justice Coalition.
“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” wrote GLAAD in a social media statement. “Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”
Whilst The National Black Justice Coalition called on Netflix to remove the special from its service. “It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform,” the organization wrote.
“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence.”
Elsewhere in the special, Chapelle weighed in on the backlash surrounding DaBaby following homophobic remarks the rapper made during his set at Miami’s Rolling Loud Festival.
Chapelle acknowledged that the rapper “pushed the button” with his comments and that he “can’t do that,” whilst joking that he hopes “to negotiate the release of DaBaby”.
“And I’d like to start by addressing the [LGBTQ] community directly,” Chapelle said. “I want every member of that community to know that I come here tonight in peace and I hope to negotiate the release of DaBaby.”
He continued, “He pushed the button, punched the [LGBTQ] community right in the AIDS.
“Can’t do that, can’t do that. But I do believe, and I’ll make this point later, that the kid made a very egregious mistake. I will acknowledge that. But, you know, a lot of the [LGBTQ] community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history. He’s a wild guy.”
“In our country, you can shoot and kill, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”
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