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Dave Chappelle ‘not bending to anyone’s demands’ in Netflix row

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Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle claims to have been uninvited from film festivals around the world as the comedian took a swipe at "cancel" culture following an outcry over jokes made in his latest Netflix special.

The Emmy winner said he was "not bending to anybody's demands" as he spoke out for the first time since Netflix staff protested last week over jokes made in The Closer.

A group of workers calling themselves Team Trans had organised a rally outside the streaming giant's Sunset Boulevard offices in Los Angeles in response to quips about transgender people's genitalia and claims that "gender is a fact".

About 100 people attended the rally, where some protesters brandished banners emblazoned with the words "Hateflix".

Responding for the first time in a video on his Instagram account, Chappelle said he would discuss the show with the transgender community but would not give any ground.

"I said what I said and boy I heard what you said. My god, how could I not?" he added.

"You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore."

Around 100 people attended a protest against Netflix over Dave Chappelle's special - REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Around 100 people attended a protest against Netflix over Dave Chappelle's special - REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

He also thanked Netflix boss Ted Sarandos for not cancelling him, adding: "Today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film."

Mr Sarandos admitted he "screwed up" in his handling of employees' concerns but stood by his decision to commission Chapelle's latest Netflix special because he wanted to support "creative freedom and artistic expression".

He said his initial staff memo claiming that Chappelle had not crossed the line into inciting violence had been "uncharacteristic".

"Obviously, I screwed up that internal communication," he told Variety. "I did that, and I screwed it up in two ways.

“First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity. Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made. And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn’t do that."

However, Mr Sanandos said the show would stay on Netflix, adding: "I don’t believe there have been many calls to remove it."

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