After the episode aired this weekend, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized NBC for platforming Chappelle, who used his monologue to address Kanye West and Kyrie Irving’s recent anti-Semitism. “We shouldn’t expect Dave Chappelle to serve as society’s moral compass, but disturbing to see NBC not just normalize but popularize anti-Semitism,” Greenblatt tweeted. “Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?”
Conservative Israel-based publication The Jerusalem Post also accused Chappelle of sharing anti-Semitic tropes in the monologue, which starts off with the comedian reading a faux prepared statement denouncing anti-Semitism.
Time Out New York theater editor and critic Adam Feldman said that Chappelle’s monologue “did more to normalize anti-Semitism than anything Kanye said,” because “everyone knows Kanye is nuts” but “Chappelle posits himself as a teller of truths.”
While the monologue did see him suggest that Ye crossed a line with his recent behavior, Chappelle also alluded to the common conspiracy theory that Hollywood is controlled by Jewish people.
“I’ve been to Hollywood…this is what I saw: It’s a lot of Jews. Like, a lot. But that doesn’t mean anything! There’s a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri. Doesn’t mean they run the place," he said. He went on to explain he understands how somebody might "adopt the delusion" of Jewish people running show business and said "it's not a crazy thing to think, but it’s a crazy thing to say out loud in a climate like this.”
He also focused his attention on Kyrie Irving sharing the documentary Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, which has been widely denounced as anti-Semitic. “He was slow to apologize,” Chappelle said. “And then the list of demands to get back in their good graces got longer and longer, and this is where I draw the line: I know the Jewish people have been through terrible things all over the world, but you can’t blame that on Black Americans. You just can’t.”