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Dave Chapelle Attacked On-Stage During Netflix comedy set

The comic appears to say “it was a trans man” in reference to his on-stage attacker

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; picture: Netflix 

Comedian Dave Chappelle was assaulted on stage during a comedy set at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Tuesday night (3 May), footage posted on social media appears to show. 

In clips immediately following the attack Chappelle appears to try and joke that “it was a trans man”. 

The 48-year-old comedian’s comment comes across as a jab at the backlash caused by his 2021 Netflix special, The Closer, which included remarks widely condemned as transphobic.

According to a BBC News report, the “suspect had been carrying a replica handgun that contained a knife blade.”

BuzzFeed’s investigative reporter Brianna Sacks, an attendee of Chappelle’s Tuesday night set, tweeted: “Just came out of the Hollywood Bowl where a man charged and tackled Dave Chapelle on stage and got his ass kicked by at least 10 people.”

In a later tweet, she added: “The show was just ending when the man hoppped onto stage and ran at Chapelle, form tackling him to the ground. The comedian had literally just said he now has more security because of all the uproar from his jokes about the Trans community.”

ABC journalist Stephanie Wash was also in attendance and tweeted that Chris Rock – who was slapped on stage by Will Smith at the Oscars in March – joined Chappelle on stage and joked: “Was that Will Smith?”

In October 2021, mounting criticism of Chappelle’s comments had led to Netflix employees staging a walkout in protest of the comedian’s statements in The Closer.

In the comedy special, Chappelle says: “I’m team TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist].”

Continuing: “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. This is a fact.”

According to BBC News, a spokeswoman from the Hollywood Bowl said an investigation has been launched into the events of Tuesday’s Netflix Is A Joke Festival attack but they were “unable to comment further at this time.”

The Attitude May/June issue is out now.