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Immediately after its release on Tuesday, The Closer began receiving backlash over a series of anti-trans comments from the 48-year-old comedian. At one point during the gig, Chappelle declares himself a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and expresses support for J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author who claimed trans women posed a threat to those who were assigned female at birth.
“It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform,” NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement to Deadline. “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. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”
GLAAD also weighed in on the controversy Wednesday, praising both critics and viewers who have publicly slammed Chappelle’s comments.
“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” the organization tweeted. “Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”
Chappelle is no stranger to this type of controversy, as he’s been accused of spewing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in past standup specials. In The Closer, the comedian insisted he had no issues with the trans community, but made a number of bigoted comments about human anatomy.
“Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact,” Chappelle said. “Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those pussies that they got … you know what I mean? I’m not saying it’s not pussy, but it’s Beyond Pussy or Impossible Pussy. It tastes like pussy, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.”
Netflix has yet to address the criticism.