The family of a late transgender comedian at the center of Dave Chappelle’s controversial new Netflix special threw their support behind him, saying he’s a misunderstood “LGBTQ ally.”
Critics have panned Chappelle for cracking transphobic jokes in “The Closer,” which concludes with a segment dedicated to his late trans pal Daphne Dorman.
But Dorman’s sisters Brandy and Becky are defending the Emmy-winning funnyman, with Brandy saying on Facebook that his “message was lost in translation,” The Daily Beast reported.
“Dave loved my sister and is an LGBTQ ally,” Brandy added in a text to the outlet, referring to Daphne, who killed herself while under attack for sticking up for Chappelle over his earlier gags about the trans community.
“His entire set was begging to end this very situation,” she said.
Brandy added on Facebook, “I feel like he poured his heart out in that special and no one noticed.
“What he’s saying to the LGBTQ family is, ‘I see you. Do you see me? I’m mourning my friend in the best way I know how. Can you see me? Can you allow me that?’” she wrote, calling the set a “call to come together.”
In the roughly hour-long special, Chappelle quips about joining “Team TERF!” — the acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and reference to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling — and says he agrees with her that “gender is a fact.”
Chappelle’s gags have sparked a cancel campaign to get Netflix to dump his shows.
But in texts to The Daily Beast, Becky said her late sister “was in awe of Dave’s graciousness.”
“She did not find his jokes rude, crude, off-coloring, off-putting, anything. She thought his jokes were funny,” she wrote of her rookie comedian sister, who Chappelle had invited to open for him at shows. “Daphne understood humor and comedy — she was not offended. Why would her family be offended?”
Chappelle drew gasps from the audience when he revealed how Dorman, 44, jumped off the roof of a building in October 2019 while she was still being “dragged” online for defending his trans jokes on that year’s “Sticks & Stones” show.
“My heart was broken,” he said, saying that while he does not know why she killed herself “I bet dragging her didn’t help.”
He proudly recalled the tweet Dorman posted defending him from accusations that his material about trans people was “punching down.”
“Punching down requires you to consider yourself superior to another group,” Dorman had tweeted Aug. 29, 2019. “@DaveChappelle doesn’t consider himself better than me in any way. He isn’t punching up or punching down. He’s punching lines. That’s his job and he’s a master of his craft.”
Chappelle called it a “beautfiul tweet” by a “beautiful friend.”
“The hardest thing for a person to do is go against their tribe … It took a lot of heart to defend me like that,” he said.
“I don’t know what the trans community did for her,” Chappelle said. “But I don’t care, because I feel like she wasn’t their tribe. She was mine. She was a comedian in her soul.”
Becky insisted that “Dave was the biggest bright spot for Daphne” before her suicide.
“Blaming Dave is beyond the wrong thing to do,” she told The Daily Beast. “He helped her and let her be comfortable while talking with him. She had many demons; Dave Chappelle was NOT one of them.”