Dave Chappelle is ready to meet with transgender Netflix employees and other members of the transgender community, but warned that he won't be "bending to anybody's demands."
The 48-year-old comedian posted a stand-up video on Monday, Oct. 25, in which he expressed willingness to meet with transgender individuals following backlash to his recent Netflix special.
At the show, he told the audience, "It's been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused," Chappelle stated. "That is not true. If they had invited me I would have accepted it. Although, I am confused about what we would be speaking about."
He continued, "I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore."
As the crowd cheered him on, Chappelle claimed, "I want everyone in this audience to know that even though the media frames it that it's me versus that community, that is not what it is. Do not blame the LBGTQ [sic] community for any of this s--t. This has nothing to do with them. It's about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say."
He said his friends who are part of the LGBTQ community have "been loving and supporting" of him despite the backlash to his The Closer standup special. During his Oct. 5 Netflix show, he said "gender is a fact" and said he was "team TERF," referring to trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
In his new Instagram video, the star went on to jokingly list conditions for meeting with transgender individuals, stating, "To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody's demands. And if you want to meet with me, I'd be more than willing to, but I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny."
However, numerous people took issue with Chappelle's mention of Gadsby, as the comedian previously shared that she believed the Chappelle Show star inspires homophobia with his remarks.
On Oct. 14, she posted an open letter aimed at Netflix boss Ted Sarandos.
"I would prefer if you didn't drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle's fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view," the Nannette star wrote on Oct. 14. "You didn't pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted."
She continued, "F--k you and your amoral algorithm cult. I do s--t with more back bone than you. That's a joke! I definitely didn't cross a line because you just told the world there isn't one."
Sarandos initially defended Chapelle in a company-wide memo, stating, "We don't allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don't believe The Closer crosses that line."
However, Sarandos later admitted to Deadline that he "screwed up the internal communication" by stating that Chappelle's standup special wasn't harmful. He explained, "I feel I should've made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should've recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through."
Terra Field, an employee resource group vice president at Netflix, previously explained on Oct. 6 that Netflix employees weren't "offended" by Chappelle's special. She stated that the employees were upset the special doesn't acknowledge "the harm that content like this does to the trans community (especially trans people of color) and VERY specifically Black trans women."
"Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act," she tweeted. "This is not an argument with two sides. It is an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don't want us to be."