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Netflix can't shake Chappelle controversy



Netflix can't seem to close the door on "The Closer," with the streaming giant only further inflaming controversy with its defense of Dave Chappelle's mocking of the transgender community in his latest comedy special.


Netflix had touted Chappelle's stand-up routine as a chance for the 48-year-old Emmy Award winner to "try and set the record straight" and "get a few things off his chest" when it was released early this month.


But instead, the show - the finale in a series of six specials that Chappelle partnered with Netflix for - quickly ignited a firestorm.

"Now listen, women get mad at me, gay people get mad at me, lesbians get mad at me - but I'm gonna tell you right now, and this is true: These transgenders," he says in it, "want me dead."


While declaring he is "not indifferent to the suffering of someone else," Chappelle dedicated nearly half of his 70-minute long set to jokes deriding the LGBT community, specifically transgender people.

The comic used crude terms to refer to a transgender person's anatomy and offered a defense of J.K. Rowling against critics who have called the "Harry Potter" author transphobic. Using a sarcastic tone to refer to himself as a "transphobic comedian," Chappelle told a Detroit audience, "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 said.


"I'm Team TERF!" Chappelle exclaimed, referring to an acronym meaning trans exclusionary radical feminist, or a transphobic feminist. "Gender is a fact."

Transgender men and nonbinary people can get pregnant and give birth - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website refers to "pregnant people" rather than solely women.


GLAAD condemned Chappelle, saying his brand "has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people," while the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBT advocacy organization, called on Netflix to pull the plug on the special.


Controversy erupted once again after CEO Ted Sarandos responded to critics in a pair of memos defending Chappelle.


"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," Sarandos said in one of the notes.


In a separate companywide note sent Monday, Sarandos acknowledged that some employees "have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle's latest special on Netflix."


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