Dave Chappelle's appearance at his own high school postponed over fear of student protests

Dave Chappelle's appearance at his own high school postponed over fear of student protests

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Dave Chappelle is laughing off more controversy stemming from his recent Netflix special “The Closer.” 

The comedian caught the ire of the LGBTQ+ community after the comedy special was released on Netflix in September. In it, Chappelle dedicates about a third of his time to discuss his past dealings with people in the transgender community getting offended by his jokes. He makes remarks such as “gender is a fact” and declares himself “team TERF,” a term standing for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, in a lengthy defense of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling. 

His comments sparked a lot of backlash, including a walkout among Netflix employees, and has even prompted a planned appearance at his former high school to be postponed in an effort to get ahead of a student protest. 

Dave Chappelle has been facing backlash for months over his Netflix special, ‘The Closer.’ 
(Mathieu Bitton/Netflix)

Now, in a statement on its website, the school says it is hoping to take the extra time to use this as a teaching moment and open a dialogue with students about the situation. 

“‘The Closer’ — the most watched comedy special in Netflix’s history, which has garnered a 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes — has sparked a national debate around race, gender, sexuality and ‘cancel culture,’” the school wrote. “As a learning institution that champions inclusivity, diversity, equity and belonging, we care deeply about protecting the well-being and dignity of every member of our student body, faculty and community. We also believe moving forward with the event, originally scheduled for November 23, 2021, without first addressing questions and concerns from members of the Ellington community, would be a missed opportunity for a teachable moment.”

Dave Chappelle’s appearance at his high school has been postponed for fear of protests about ‘The Closer.’ 
(Mathieu Bitton/Netflix)

Representatives for Chappelle did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

However, the Indianapolis Star reports that Chappelle commented on the controversy at his old high school during a recent stand-up appearance. The comedian reportedly joked that “The Closer” backlash is making it so he “can’t even raise money for children.” 

“They’re canceling stuff I didn’t even want to do,” Chappelle said. 

The planned event is to name a theater on campus in honor of the comedian. In its statement, the school noted what an impact Chappelle has had on the institution in the years since he became famous. He donated his first Emmy Award and other memorabilia to the school and spoke at a graduation. He also hosted a masterclass featuring accomplished artists like Bradley Cooper, Chris Tucker, Erykah Badu, Common and more. The statement also notes that Chappelle has personally donated millions. 

Dave Chappelle has been in hot water over comments he made in his September Netflix special, ‘The Closer.’
(Mathieu Bitton – NETFLIX)

“We will lean into this moment as a community. We have engaged in listening sessions with our students and have allowed space for diverse viewpoints. We are committed to fostering a community where every individual feels both heard and supported,” the school’s statement adds. “Those conversations are ongoing. Additionally, using Chappelle’s latest works as the impetus, we have expanded our social studies curriculum to include content related to political activism, civic engagement, arts activism and the intersections of race, gender and sexuality. Our objective is to uplift conversations around artistic freedom and artistic responsibility.”

The statement concludes: “We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist’s point of view, product or craft, but reject the notion that a ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the rights and dignity of all its members.”

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