Campaigners have called on Netflix to withdraw American comedian Dave Chapelle’s latest special, The Closer, from the streaming platform amid allegations of homophobia and transphobia.
The show, which debuted on Tuesday, is currently sitting at number five in Netflix’s US top ten, although it does not currently appear in the streamer’s ten most popular shows in the UK. In the special, Chappelle announces, “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.”
Chapelle, whose routines often feature gay and trans people as the butt of his jokes, has proudly declared himself to be “Team TERF” and, in his latest special, goes on to compare attitudes to racism and homophobia, claiming that “in our country, you can shoot and kill a n*****, but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings. If slaves had oil and booty shorts on, we might have been free 100 years sooner.”
The American LGBTQ+ rights organisation GLAAD took to Twitter to condemn Chappelle, saying, “Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities.”
GLAAD were joined in their condemnation of Netflix and Chapelle by David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, who said, “It is deeply disappointing that Netflix allowed Dave Chappelle’s lazy and hostile transphobia and homophobia to air on its platform.
“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence.
“Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.
“Make no mistake: Black LGBTQ+ and same gender people exist – and have always existed. The fight against oppression is not a zero sum game, and the pervasiveness of white supremacy in the United States is not an excuse for homophobia or transphobia.”
Jaclyn Moore, the showrunner and executive producer of the hugely successful Netflix show Dear White People and who is herself trans, went further, announcing that she will no longer work with the streaming giant as long as they continue to broadcast “dangerously transphobic content”.