The Dave Chappelle controversy continues as venue abruptly cancels show
Shortly before Dave Chappelle planned to take the stage in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the venue announced it would no longer be hosting the comedian
Shortly before comedian Dave Chappelle planned to take the stage in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the venue announced that Chappelle’s show would be moving to another theater — the latest event in an ongoing controversy for the comedian.
Why was Dave Chappelle’s show in Minneapolis canceled?
The Minneapolis venue First Avenue — which was the setting for Prince’s “Purple Rain” — announced on Wednesday that it would no longer host Chappelle because of social media backlash it had received since booking the comedian, Variety reported.
Over the last several months, Chappelle has faced criticism for his Netflix special “The Closer,” which came under fire for remarks that some considered to be offensive toward the transgender and LGBTQ+ community, the Deseret News reported.
“The Closer” led hundreds of Netflix workers to walk out, demanding the streaming service to remove the special from its platform.
Although tickets to Chappelle’s show at First Avenue quickly sold out, the venue received a substantial amount of criticism from people on social media, leading to the decision to move the show to another venue at the last minute, per Variety.
“To staff, artists and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” First Avenue said in a statement, according to Variety. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls.
“The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission,” the venue continued. “We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have.”
First Avenue’s decision received praise and pushback from fans and comedians: “‘We believe in diverse voices’ ... except the voices we don’t agree with,” comedian Tim Young said in response to the venue’s decision, Fox News reported.
In addition to Wednesday night’s show, which was moved to the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Chappelle is also scheduled to perform at the venue Thursday and Friday.
What has Dave Chappelle said about ‘The Closer’ controversy?
Despite the criticism it has garnered, “The Closer” recently received an Emmy nomination for outstanding variety special (pre-recorded), Deadline reported.
Chappelle recently addressed the controversy surrounding “The Closer” in a 40-minute speech given at his alma mater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, in Washington, D.C. The school had planned to name a theater after the comedian until Chappelle declined the offer due to the controversy, according to Fox News.
The speech appears in “What’s in a Name?” a special recently released on Netflix. In his speech to students, Chappelle called “The Closer” a “masterpiece.”
“The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” Chappelle said in the speech, per Deadline. “And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, of artistic expression.”
Earlier this year, Chappelle was attacked at Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival in Los Angeles, the Deseret News reported. His attacker, 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, said the comedian should be more “sensitive” when it comes to performing a set on stage.
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee, who was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, told the New York Post. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”