Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special, The Closer, is drawing a wave of criticism, and two organizations have asked Netflix to pull it off their app.
The Closer premiered Tuesday and is the fifth and final installment in a series of five stand-up specials by Chappelle for Netflix. In it, the comedian talks about the trans community, defends the rapper DaBaby and Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling, and calls out white LGBTQ members who pretend to be oppressed but hide behind their whiteness when it’s convenient.
In a statement on Twitter, GLAAD expressed disappointment in Chappelle’s jokes adding, “Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”
The National Black Justice Coalition called Chappelle’s special “lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia” and is calling on Netflix to pull the special from the app.
“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States—the majority of whom are Black transgender people—Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence,” David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement.
“Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”
Others on social media have also called out the comedian for his jokes. However, the special is also praised by Chappelle fans for his honesty and unusual outlook on subjects such as the ‘Me Too’ movement.
Toward the end of The Closer, Chappelle references a trans comedian, Daphne Dorman, who he credited for defending him after his 2019 special Sticks & Stones. Dorman passed away soon after defending Chappelle.
“I don’t know what the trans community did for her,” Chappelle said. “But I don’t care because I feel like she wasn’t their tribe. She was mine. She was a comedian in her soul.”
Two of Dorman’s sisters defended Chappelle’s special, saying they were outraged at the suggestion the comedian’s set was transphobic or derogatory.
“Daphne was in awe of Dave’s graciousness,” Dorman’s sister Becky wrote to the Daily Beast. “She did not find his jokes rude, crude, off-coloring, off-putting, anything. She thought his jokes were funny. Daphne understood humor and comedy—she was not offended. Why would her family be offended?”
“Dave loved my sister and is an LGBTQ ally,” Dorman’s younger sister Brandy added. “His entire set was begging to end this very situation.”