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The family of a late trans woman who was friends with Dave Chappelle say they are not offended by his controversial Netflix special.
Thousands of people are calling on Netflix to drop Dave Chappelle’s The Closer after he made “a number of degrading jokes” about the trans community in the special.
“By providing a platform to Dave Chappelle and his transphobic ‘jokes’, Netflix is perpetuating violence and hostility towards transgender people,” says the Change.org petition, which has been signed by nearly 6,500 people.
Chappelle’s latest special, which premiered on 5 October on Netflix, sees the comedian make explicit jokes about trans women’s genitals and defend DaBaby and JK Rowling, before declaring himself “Team TERF“. He also discusses his friendship with Daphne Dorman, a trans comedian who died by suicide in 2019.
In the wake of backlash against Chappelle, Dorman’s family have issued a statement in his defence.
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?”
Dave Chappelle: ‘I never had a problem with transgender people’
Netflix is facing mounting pressure to remove Chappelle’s special, which, the Change.org petition points out, “comes at a time when transgender community faces a hostile environment right across the world”.
“2021 is set to be one of the worst years on record, with the Human Rights Campaign already sadly having tracked 38 transgender or non-conforming people in the US who have been fatally shot or killed by other means,” it says. “And in England and Wales 2,540 hate crimes against transgender individuals were recorded in the year to the end of March 2020, an increase of 16 per cent.
“As well as violence – both fatal and non-fatal – being perpetuated against transgender people worldwide, the transgender community is constantly attacked by media outlets, public figures and politicians.”
In one monologue from his new special, Dave Chappelle mused about the controversy surrounding JK Rowling before declaring he agreed with her, saying “gender is a fact”.
“Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth,” Chappelle said. “That is a fact.”
He continued: “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.”
Chappelle also claimed that people who watch his specials would “know that I never had a problem with transgender people”.
Jaclyn Moore, a writer, executive producer and showrunner on Netflix series Dear White People, was so shocked by the comedy she has now cut ties with the streaming service altogether.
Chappelle’s last Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, was released in 2019 and also featured him making fun of trans people.
Trans people “hate my fucking guts and I don’t blame them,” Chappelle said, adding that he “can’t stop writing jokes” about the trans community.
“What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was breaking an unwritten and unspoken rule of show business,” Chappelle said. “No matter what you do in your artistic expression, you are never, ever, allowed to upset the alphabet people. You know who I mean. Those people who took 20 per cent of the alphabet for themselves. I’m talking about them Ls and Bs and Gs and the Ts.”
He added: “I feel bad for the Ts. But they’re so confusing … the fact is if a person can be born in the wrong body, they have to admit that’s a f—ing hilarious predicament.”
In the hour-long special, released August 26, 2019, Chappelle also said he doesn’t believe the people who say Michael Jackson molested them and defended controversial comedians Kevin Hart and Louis C.K.
He also performed a racist impression of a Chinese person, pretending that Chinese is “how I feel inside”.