Dave Chappelle: The Closer. c. Mathieu Bitton

Dear White People Showrunner Quits Netflix Over Dave Chappelle’s Transphobic Special

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Dave Chappelle continues to tarnish his own comedic legacy with his latest Netflix comedy special The Closer, where he doubles down on his transphobic and homophobic rhetoric. Chappelle has been criticized for his transphobic material before, with our own Princess Weekes writing in 2017, “Chappelle should probably never, ever speak about trans people again.” Yet despite this, Chappelle spends a shocking amount of time in his new special espousing anti-LGBTQ+ views and identifying proudly as a “TERF.”

In response, Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore announced that she is parting ways with Netflix over their support of Chappelle’s transphobic comedy special. In a lengthy Twitter thread, Moore, who is trans, discusses why she chose to walk away from the streaming service.

Moore tweeted, “I will not work with them as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.”

Moore added, “I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, “I’m not a ‘real’ woman.” I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done.”

Moore, who is executive producing the Queer as Folk reboot for Peacock, eloquently breaks down how Chappelle’s comedy is so hurtful and dehumanizing to the communities he attacks.

GLAAD also issued a statement about Chappelle’s special, saying “Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”

Netflix senior software engineer @RainofTerra also called out the company in a Twitter thread:

Terra continued, “Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act. 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.” She then lists the names of 38 trans people who were murdered this year, writing “That these 38 people died for the crime of being themselves? That actually *does* offend me.”

Chappelle is part of a generation of comedians who refuse to change with the times and adjust their material for a modern audience. Instead of exploring new avenues of humor, they are doubling down on the same cliché attacks on the LGBTQ+ community that are not only offensive, but deeply unoriginal. And then when they experience the slightest bit of pushback, they scream “cancel culture.” But while they complain about being silenced, they’re still the ones with the microphones, getting paid massive amounts of money to spread transphobia and hatred.

And it’s deeply hypocritical of Netflix, a streamer which prides itself on inclusive content with shows like Sex Education, Q-Force, and Dear White People. Netflix’s queer Twitter handle @Most has over 75K followers and frequently gushes over their diverse slate of content. But all of that is lip service as long as they continue to promote and profit off of transphobia.

Do better, everyone.

(image: Mathieu Bitton/Netflix)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.