I’m so over Dave motherf#@!ing Chappelle.
There’s no question that Chappelle has delivered unto the world some incisive social commentary throughout his comedy career. However, there are certain blind spots that he has that, as time goes on and the world gets more knowledge, have become harder and harder to ignore. It’s really just one big blind spot called sexism.
Chappelle has been problematic for a while. As Princess observed in her piece about him back in December, he has exactly zero place talking about transgender people at all. Especially since his lazy defense is that “he just didn’t see how anyone, including trans people, should be above being joked about.” Really? Because I have a feeling that if a white comedian made jokes at the expense of blackness, Chappelle might have a problem with that.
It’s not about joking at the expense of trans individuals. I’m sure if someone came up with a good joke about Laverne Cox or Hari Nef, they’d be the first to laugh. It’s joking at the expense of transness that’s the problem. Where being trans is, in itself, the “punchline” of the joke. Like, I thought this dude was a woman! I don’t get it! Isn’t that funny? No. You’re just ignorant, and shit like that perpetuates actual, real-life harm.
You can make fun of individuals, and you can make fun of situations. You don’t get to make fun of identities, especially when they are not identities you claim, or communities of which you are a part.
It isn’t just trans women who have an enemy in Chappelle’s brand of humor, it’s cis women too. Specifically, it’s women who have the audacity to…be victimized by sexual harassment and assault.
In his latest Netflix comedy special, which dropped on Sunday, Chappelle is of the opinion that women shouldn’t let a little thing like systemic sexism and sexual harassment or assault get in the way of their showbiz dreams. But not in an empowering way. More like in a victim-blamey sort of way.
Of alleged Louis C.K. victim, Abby Schachner, he said, “One lady said, ‘Louis C.K. masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams.’ Word? Well then I dare say, madame, you may have never had a dream. Come on man, that’s a brittle spirit. That is a brittle-ass spirit, that is too much, this grown-ass woman.”
In his “wisdom,” because he’s an expert on how the power dynamics of sexual harassment and systemic sexism work, he went on to say, “I know that sounds fucked up, I’m not supposed to say that, but one of these ladies was like, ‘Louis C.K. was masturbating while I was on the phone with him.’ Bitch, you don’t know how to hang up a phone? How the fuck are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams?”
First of all, I looove how he just accentuated his sexism by calling this woman “Bitch.” Awesome.
Secondly, motherfucker what is wrong with you? Women have been “surviving” this shit in show business FOREVER. That doesn’t mean that they should have to put up with it in the first goddamn place! As I said in my piece on Michael Rapaport and Ron Perlman, if you’re not here to help, then your only job is to shut the hell up. Seriously. Shut up about it. Your comedic commentary is not wanted here. Not about this. No one needs your “insight” on what women should do when they are harassed or assaulted. No. One.
Except Netflix apparently.
And here’s where I come to the larger problem here. It’s one thing for one individual comedian to say some stupid shit. It’s another thing for the largest digital platform in the industry to give that individual comedian a microphone. And it’s not as if Chappelle is the only virulently sexist horse in their stable.
Their first original film, Bright, which was a “hit” views-wise, because people love to rubberneck at car wrecks, was written by known sexist and alleged sexual assaulter Max Landis. Netflix only took action after receiving extensive criticism for employing That 70s Show‘s Danny Masterson on The Ranch. Masterson allegedly raped four women who’ve all come forward, yet Netflix executives dismissed their claims and only took action once the heat of the #MeToo movement fell on them.
Hey Netflix, where’s the line for you? How many vocal sexists will you give a platform before enough is enough? When will you choose to look at the content you’re distributing with a more critical eye? What will it take for you to decide to make yourselves aware of people’s histories and not give voice to discrimination or let abusers continue to be comfortably employed in an industry in which they’ve actively harmed people?
Supporting sexists and their misogynist work is not a good look. I love so much of your programming, but not enough to keep my subscription if that programming continues to be created on the backs of the marginalized.
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—