Dave Chappelle ruffled plenty feathers with his latest Netflix comedy special, and the director of a controversial documentary targeted by the comedian is speaking out.
In the comedian’s new standup special “Sticks & Stones” he focuses on a whole new collection of polarizing jokes about R. Kelly, the LGBTQ community and Michael Jackson.
“I’m going to say something I’m not allowed to say, but I gotta be real: I don’t believe these motherf**kers,” Chappelle says about the subjects of “Finding Neverland” who accused Jackson of child abuse as per USA Today.
But he doesn’t have as much confidence in R. Kelly, “If I’m a betting man, I’m putting my money on he probably did that sh*t.”
Sticking to the theme of sexual harassment allegations, Chappelle turns his attention to Louis C.K. who admitted to masturbating in front of several female comedians.
“Louis C.K. was a very good friend of mine before he died in that terrible masturbation accident,” Chappelle says. “It was his room, that’s where you’re supposed to masturbate. And then he said, ‘Hey, everybody, I’m about to pull my [penis] out,’ and nobody ran for the door. They all just kind of hung out, like, ‘I wonder if this guy is serious.'”
And if Chappelle didn’t learn from the backlash during his last comedy special “Equanimity” over his transgender jokes, he had another go telling the LGBTQ community that they are “so conniving” and “need to take some responsibility” for his jokes.
“I didn’t come up with this idea on my own. This idea that a person can be born in the wrong body — they have to admit, that’s a hilarious predicament,” Chappelle adds. “What if I was Chinese but born in this body — that’s not funny? And the rest of my life, I had to go around making that face: ‘Hey, everybody, I’m Chinese!’ And then everybody get mad: ‘Stop making that face, that’s offensive.’ ‘What? This is how I feel inside.’”
Accusers James Safechuck and Wade Robson responded to Chappelle’s remarks, per TMZ. “I’m heartbroken for all those children who look to see how they will be received when they finally find the courage to speak out about their sexual abuse,” Safechuck said. “I just want to reach out to other survivors and let them know that we can’t let this type of behaviour silence us. Together we are strong.”
“He can say whatever he wants. It reveals him, not us,” said Robson. His lawyer, Vince Finaldi, added, “Although Mr. Chappelle is entitled to his opinions, however misinformed they may be, it’s unfortunate that he has chosen to use his platform to shame sexual abuse victims, and spread his ignorance of sexual abuse and the way it is perpetrated upon children, in an attempt to resurrect his career.”
“Mr. Chappelle should look to fellow comedian Hannibal Buress,” Finaldi continued. “Who instead used his platform as a mode of social change, by addressing the injustice of Bill Cosby’s alleged sexual abuse of many women head-on when no other comedian would, as an example of positive work done from a place of intestinal fortitude.”
The accusers’ comments were echoed by “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed, who addressed Chappelle’s jokes at Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
“I don’t think Dave Chappelle was very funny or clever to do what he did. You know, mocking kids who were raped by famous people, it’s like, is that funny?” said Reed, as reported by Deadline.
“Some people think it’s funny, but I don’t want this film to be positioned as part of the sort of ‘cancel culture,’” added the director. “[Jackson] has been dead a long time, his music’s out there. There’s nothing in the film that says, ‘Don’t listen to Michael Jackson.’ There’s nothing in this film that says, ‘Cancel MJ.’ We’re not part of cancel culture.”
“Sticks & Stones” is on Netflix now.