Dave Chappelle is no longer naming the student theatre at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., after himself.

According to the Washington Post, Chappelle, who is one of the school’s most famous alums, revealed at the opening ceremony Monday that the venue will be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression instead.

Chappelle insisted he didn’t want a theatre bearing his name following the backlash over his transphobic jokes in the Netflix special “The Closer”.

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The comedian doesn’t want the controversy to distract students from focusing on their art, adding that the criticism “sincerely” hurt him.

Huffington Post editor Philip Lewis wrote of Chappelle’s comments on Twitter:

Duke Ellington School of the Arts students were among those criticizing Chappelle at the time of the backlash last year.

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At the time, Duke Ellington Principal Sandi Logan said she’d had formal and informal meetings with students to discuss the issue, the Washington Post reported.

“Moving forward with the event … without first addressing questions and concerns from members of the Ellington Community would be a missed opportunity for a teachable moment,” the school wrote in a statement.

The event had been delayed since November.

Chappelle previously said that having the theatre named after him would be “the most significant honour of my life.”