Comedian Dave Chappelle is facing backlash for defending JK Rowling’s comments regarding the transgender community.
Chappelle shared his controversial opinion during his new standup show The Closer, which was released this week on Netflix.
The special sees the comedian make comments about race, the coronavirus pandemic and homophobic remarks made by DaBaby, as well as addressing the comments made by the Harry Potter author.
During his set, Chappelle acknowledged the backlash faced by Rowling as a result of her comments, saying: ‘They cancelled JK Rowling. My god. Effectually she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as sh*t, they started calling her a TERF…’
A ‘TERF’ refers to a ‘Trans-exclusionary radical feminist’; a term which Chappelle implied he identifies with. He commented: ‘I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.’
The comedian went on to say that he has ‘never had a problem with transgender people’, nor does he think ‘trans women aren’t women’, but then likened women’s anatomy to plant-based alternatives to meat products.
He said: ‘I am just saying that those p*ssies’ that they got, you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not p*ssy, but it’s Beyond P*ssy or Impossible P*ssy. It tastes like p*ssy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.’
Later in the special, Chappelle joked he would no longer make jokes targeting the LGBTQ+ community until ‘we are both sure that we are laughing together.’
He continued: ‘I’m telling you, it’s done, I’m done talking about it. All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?’
The comments were quickly condemned by viewers, with actor Taylor Ashbrook saying the Netflix special had changed her opinion of Chappelle.
She wrote: ‘As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle’s specials because I think they’re hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious. The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I’m really disappointed.’
Dana White, a program officer for LGBTQ youth homeless organisation True Colors United, wrote: ‘Nothing Dave Chappelle says changes the facts that trans women are women, trans men are men, non-binary people are non-binary, that LGBTQ+ people should live free of harm and discrimination. He is wrong.’
White went on to accuse Netflix of giving Chappelle the power to ‘be wrong loudly’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers