Dave Chappelle makes controversial jokes … again

Courtesy of NBC News

Courtesy of NBC News

Ell Samara, Staff Reporter

On October 5, on the Netflix special ‘The Closer’, Dave Chappelle did what he did best and offended people with his controversial jokes. However, should he have made these jokes in the first place? Seeing as though they are at the expense of transgender people, who have done nothing but exist, I think not.

Dictionary.com defines transphobia as “an aversion or hostility to, disdain for, or fear of transgender people.” Transgender means “noting or relating to a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s sex assigned at birth.”.

Chappelle has a history of making jokes that are just on the line of funny and outright offensive. He plays this line well, but on his special, he seemed to cross it. Chappelle even said, “trans people want me dead,” for his jokes.

Chappelle told the audience during his special to go back to his previous specials to prove he’s never made a transphobic joke, or that he has a problem with transgender people. He stated that his problem is with white people who use their privilege. However, if you go back and see his specials you can see that Chappelle has made transphobic jokes in the past.

For example, Chappelle compared being trans to Rachel Dolezal, a former college instructor who pretended to be black although both her parents are white. 

He said this just before he began to defend J.K Rowling, famed Harry Potter author, and a known transphobe. 

Chappelle said his routine on cancel culture and the many stupidities of it before shouting, “I’m team TERF!” TERF means Trans exclusionary radical feminist or a feminist who believes that trans women don’t deserve the same rights as cisgender women (women who identify with their natural-born sex). Chappelle calls himself transphobic many times and there has to be some truth to that statement. He even goes as far as to call being a white trans woman the same as blackface, which is far beyond the truth. 

During the special, Chappelle uses the word gender instead of sex. He seems to confuse the two as if they are the same. Sex is biological. Gender is a social construct, constructed by humans to fit the feminine and masculine roles that society has put in place for people.

Moving on, Chappelle said at the end of his set that he would stop making his material at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“I’m done talking about it. All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?” Which is a fair thing to ask. However one should not uplift their community while simultaneously dragging down another.

The Co-Ceo of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, has voiced that he has regrets about how he handled the situation. 

Netflix had fired a trans employee who had scheduled a walkout for the 20 of October because of the special. Since this individual, like many others, found this special offensive. Sarandos stated that the reason they fired the employee was that they leaked information to Bloomberg about how much they spent on the Chappelle special. Many people think it was because the employee was trans and showing their disdain for the special.

However, he said he has no plans to take down the special anytime soon. Netflix supposedly has a policy that content that helps to incite violence against others is strictly not allowed. It seems when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, that policy is allowed to be pushed under the rug. 

Anti-gay showings and media will incite violence, especially anti-trans media. Netflix does not believe this is the case with The Closer. Netflix believes that their special cannot possibly translate to real-life violence on trans and gay people. Which is untrue. 

Many believe that Netflix is only keeping the special up since it’s bringing lots of revenue and many big companies only care for one thing. Money.

Hopefully, Netflix will do the right thing, disregard money, and remove the special.