Dave Chappelle has said he is willing to speak with trans activists following controversy over his latest Netflix special, The Closer. In it, Chappelle makes several transphobic remarks. In a video posted Monday on Instagram, Chappelle said he was willing to meet with trans Netflix employees or trans community members, but he won’t be “bending to anybody’s demands.”
The special came out on October 5. Employees at Netflix organized a walkout to show their displeasure with the streaming service over the special. One trans employee was suspended then reinstated in the melee after attending a director-level meeting that she did not have clearance for, while another was accused of leaking information to the press and was fired.
“It's been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees at Netflix, and I refused. That is not true,” Chappelle said. “If they had invited me, I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we're speaking about. I said what I said, and boy I heard what you said. My god. How could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore.”
He added that some LGBTQ+ people supported him.
“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me,” Chappelle said. “And if you want to meet with me, I am more than willing to, but I have some conditions.”
“First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end,” he continued. “You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”
He ended the video by asking the audience, “Am I canceled or not?”
Gadsby, an out Australian comedian, had been one of his many critics after Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos used her as an example of increased diversity on the service after the Chappelle special aired. In 2018, she released her comedy special, Nanette, on Netflix to widespread acclaim.
“We are working hard to ensure marginalized communities aren’t defined by a single story,” an email from Sarandos read. “So we have Sex Education, Orange Is The New Black, Control Z, Hannah Gadsby, and Dave Chappelle all on Netflix. Key to this is increasing diversity on the content team itself.”
In her response on Instagram, Gadsby wrote, “Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chapelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view.”
She added: “F*** and your amoral algorithm cult.”