Bill Maher Is Defending Dave Chappelle Over ‘The Closer’ Controversy: ‘I’m Team Dave And Team Free Speech’

Dave Chappelle’s The Closer controversy has caused plenty of backlash over his trans jokes, including how he called himself “Team TERF” (in agreement with JK Rowling’s trans-exclusionary radical feminist position). He’s been cancelled from film festivals and disinvited at his alma mater (to which Chappelle responded with a slight slam), which has also pumped the brakes on the renaming of a theater in his honor. The comedian, however, is not without support, and that includes Caitlyn Jenner declaring that Chappelle is “100% right” and Jay-Z calling the comedian “brave.”

The host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher has also stepped up to defend Chappelle. In particular, Maher takes issue with how detractors are using the “transphobic” label for Maher’s jokes, and he was also clear (while visiting with CNN’s Chris Cuomo) on this point: “I’m team Dave and free speech.” Here’s more of what Maher said, via The Wrap:

“You say ‘going after.’ You use terms like ‘homophobia.’ I was speaking recently about ‘-phobia.’ There’s a word that’s traveled quite a bit from its original meaning. He’s not afraid of homosexuals. It’s not transphobic. This trans stuff is very new. I don’t think he, myself or any other right-thinking person thinks there aren’t such things in the world as people who are trans, who are born in a body that doesn’t align with what their brain is telling them.”

The thing is, Maher’s trying to read Dave’s mind, and Dave hasn’t actually articulated what Maher is inferring here. Chappelle did, however, declare that “gender is fact” during The Closer. His reaction to the resulting fiasco has not adopted much nuance, either. Rather, he’s been defensive, joking of his alma mater, “They’re canceling stuff I didn’t even want to do.” Of being cancelled in general, he previously claimed, “I love it.” And he also issued demands for speaking with trans Netflix employees (who haven’t taken him up on the offer as of yet).

Still, Chappelle’s receiving support for his side of the argument, and that includes Jon Stewart, who recently insisted that Dave isn’t a “hurtful” person.

(Via The Wrap)