Earlier this month, Isaiah Lee, a 23-year-old bisexual aspiring rapper, charged onstage during comedian Dave Chappelle’s set at the Hollywood Bowl, tackling the openly transphobic comedian.
Lee, who was armed with a fake gun that concealed a knife, was tackled on stage and, according to Brianna Sacks, a BuzzFeed News reporter who was in the audience, security officers and audience members began “kicking and punching” Lee for several minutes. Lee received a black eye and a broken arm.
“They spat on me and twisted me as if on purpose,” Lee told the New York Post.
Lee is now opening up about what prompted the assault on Chappelle. “I identify as bisexual,” he told the Post. “And I wanted him to know what he said was triggering. I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
Chappelle, who was unharmed, immediately responded to the attack by making a transphobic joke. “It was a trans man,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lee said he attended the show expecting to have a good time. However, he was upset by Chappelle’s jokes about the LGBTQ+ community as well as homelessness. In addition to identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community, Lee has been unhomed as well in his past. “It’s a struggle, and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke,” he explained.
According to Lee, Chappelle confronted him backstage about why the young man rushed him on stage. “I told him my mother and grandmother, who fought for his civil rights to be able to speak, would be upset at the things he said,” Lee said. To this, Chappelle allegedly responded, “Now your story will die with you, son.”
While Lee is only facing misdemeanor charges for tackling Chappelle, news coverage of the event led to new criminal charges related to a separate incident in which Lee is accused of stabbing his roommate last year. The victim in that alleged assault recognized Lee as the attacker when they saw the Chappelle story going viral, prosecutors said.
Despite everything, Lee told the Post he doesn’t regret what happened because it allowed him the opportunity to speak out about homelessness, LGBTQ+ rights, child sex abuse, and why comedians should be more thoughtful about using the topics as punchlines for their jokes.