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Dave Chappelle is facing backlash from critics following comments he made about the LGBTQ+ community in his new stand-up special.
The Closer, released on Tuesday via Netflix, shows the comedian addressing past statements, specifically about transgender people. During one monologue, Chappelle muses about transgender identity.
"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," the Chappelle's Show host begins. "Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren't women, I am just saying that those p***ies that they got... you know what I mean?"
The comedian goes on to compare trans women's genitalia to plant-based meat alternatives Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger. The comments received strong criticism on Twitter, with actress Taylor Ashbrook noting that she had now changed her mind about previously defending Chappelle.
"As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle's specials because I think they're hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious," she wrote. "The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I'm really disappointed."
Meanwhile, Vulture writer Kathryn VanArendonk said the special left her with unshakeable "annoyance," claiming that "even the most devoted Chappelle audience would love to hear material on something other than his obsession with trans bodies."
Later in the special, the 48-year-old asserted that he has "never had a problem with transgender people" but rather with "white people". He then addressed the LGBTQ+ community "directly," asking people to "release" rapper DaBaby and other Black celebrities who have been criticised for negative comments about the LGBTQ community in the past. This also gained strong criticism, specifically from Black LGBTQ people, who alleged the comedy star was equating sexuality and gender with race.
"This is ignoring how Hart, DaBaby, and Chappelle himself punched down first, but more pertinent is that again there is that divide," argued one Twitter user. "The thought of a gay or trans black person is foreign to him. We don't exist. We are outside of his experience and therefore, a white experience."
Representatives for Chapelle and Netflix have not yet responded to the criticism.