Dave Chappelle‘s upcoming appearance at his former high school has been postponed after administrators fear their students will protest due to Chappelle’s comments about trans people.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown, which Chappelle himself attended, announced in an email to patrons that they had decided to postpone the Nov. 23 event, which was intended to serve as a fundraiser to raise money for a new theater bearing Chappelle’s name. Instead, the school determined it would be best to delay the event until April 22.
“We recognize that not everyone will accept or welcome a particular artist’s point of view, product, or craft, but reject the notion that a ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy or constructive means to teach our students how society should balance creative freedom with protecting the right and dignity of all of its members,” the school said in a statement, according to Politico.
The school also said they are hosting “listening sessions” with the students to explore “content related to political activism, civic engagement, arts activism, and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality.”
In response to the postponement, a spokesperson for Chappelle told Politico that the delay was because they had “been working on a way to make sure the students understand what’s in the special.”
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However, Chappelle himself commented on the situation during a standup performance on Friday evening, according to the Indianapolis Star. Chappelle joked that he “can’t even raise money for children.”
“They’re canceling stuff I didn’t even want to do,” Chappelle said, the article continued.
The upheaval over Chappelle’s appearance stemmed from the comedian’s comments about trans people in his Netflix special The Closer, which sparked significant backlash, Yahoo Entertainment previously reported.
In the Netflix special, which was recorded at The Fillmore in Detroit in August, “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.” He also made fun of the genitalia of trans women, and defended Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has also faced allegations of transphobia.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling — my God,” Chappelle said. “Effectually she said gender was a fact. The trans community got mad as sh**, they started calling her a TERF,” referring to the term for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” He then added “I’m team TERF… Gender is a fact.”
He also made several comments about gay people.
“In our country, you can shoot and kill a n*****, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings,” Chappelle said.
After the original controversy, Chappelle continued to comment on the situation, making new trans jokes during a standup show in New Orleans, Yahoo Entertainment previously reported.
“I haven’t been in this much trouble in my life,” Chappelle said during the show, according to Rolling Stone, which reported that he spent his time criticizing “PC culture.”
In response to Chappelle’s original comments, GLAAD issued a statement, saying “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.” They asked people to avoid streaming the special.
The National Black Justice Coalition also released a statement, Yahoo Entertainment previously reported. The organization said they were “deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform.”