The family of late transgender comedian Daphne Dorman have thrown their support behind Dave Chappelle following criticism over his comments about the trans community in his latest Netflix special, The Closer.
Chappelle received backlash from the trans community following the special’s release after he made jokes about the “cancellation” of Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has previously been labelled as a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) by social media.
“They cancelled JK Rowling – my God,” Chappelle said on stage. “Effectually she said gender was fact, the trans community got mad as shit, they started calling her a Terf…I’m Team TERF.”
He went on to comment that “gender is a fact” and that “every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.”
Despite criticism on social media over his comments, the family of transgender comedian Daphne Dorman – who Dave spoke about fondly in the special – have since thrown their support behind the star, calling him an ally of the LGBTQ community.
In a text message to The Daily Beast, Dorman’s sister Becky wrote “Daphne was in awe of Dave’s graciousness. She did not find his jokes rude, crude, off-coloring, off-putting, anything.
“She thought his jokes were funny. Daphne understood humour and comedy—she was not offended. Why would her family be offended?”
Dorman’s younger sister Brandy agreed with the statement, adding that Chappelle is an “LGBTQ ally.”
Dorman had been a very close friend to Chappelle until her untimely death in 2019, according to her family, and at one point even opened him at a comedy show in San Francisco.
Following the release of Stick and Stones, Dorman herself spoke out in support of Dave after he received backlash for the special.
“Punching down requires you to consider yourself superior to another group. He doesn’t consider himself better than me in any way. He isn’t punching up or punching down. He’s punching lines. That’s his job and he’s a master of his craft,” she said on August 29, 2019, only a few days before Daphne took her own life.
Despite the wave of criticism directed at Dave for his latest show, the comedian remained unaffected.
“If this is what being cancelled is like, I love it,” he told the crowd at a star-studded show at the Hollywood Bowl this week, which included Brad Pitt, Tiffany Haddish, Chuck Lorre and more.
“Fuck Twitter. Fuck NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid ass networks. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. This is real life,” he bluntly added later on.
Chappelle’s sold-out show “promoted messages of kindness and love” with special guest Stevie Wonder offering some sage words on cancel culture, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“What we need to cancel is hate. What we need to cancel is fear because we have to have love, and we should never cancel that,” he said.
“I want us to cancel the idea of feeling that we don’t want anyone to laugh because if we don’t laugh, we cry. And I don’t believe that was God’s intention — ever.”
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