Dave Chappelle’s speech at his alma mater was released on Netflix.
Dave Chappelle has been stirring up controversy for a while now. His transphobic comments in his previous standup specials culminated in a walkout at Netflix HQ, and Chappelle has relished in the backlash, saying he loves being cancelled.
Netflix has far from cancelled Chappelle, however, and the streaming giant has now released Chappelle’s speech at his alma mater as its own special, What’s in a Name: Speech at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. In the release, Chappelle addresses his decision to not have the new theater in the school named after him, along with his continued transphobic comments and the blowback they entail.
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“These kids said everything about gender and this and that and the other, but they didn’t say anything about art,” said the comedian about the pushback he received from students. “And this is my biggest gripe with this whole controversy with The Closer. You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance from his words. It would be like if you were reading the newspaper and they say ‘man shot in the face by a six-foot rabbit, expected to survive.’ You’d be like, ‘oh my god.’ And they never tell you it’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon.”
“When I heard these talking points coming out of these children’s faces, that really sincerely hurt me,” he continued. “Because I know those kids didn’t come up with those words. I’ve heard those words before.” Chappelle accused the students of being used as “instruments of oppression,” and said that their criticisms of his comments only pushed him farther in the opposite direction.
“The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” Chappelle explained. “And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, to artistic expression that is valuable to me, that is not separate from me.”