The Owner Of A Famed West Hollywood Comedy Club Is Calling On Comedians To Voice Support For Dave Chappelle

The current feeling at Netflix HQ is that the streaming giant has turned into its very own episode of Squid Game. The controversy surrounding charges of Dave Chappelle’s new comedy special The Closer being labeled transphobic have spilled outside of the streaming giant’s boardroom and into the entertainment world at large.

In the past week alone, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos offered up a half-ass apology to the people who might be offended by Chappelle’s new special, but made it clear that he supported freedom of speech for artists. Then he ended up having to apologize for his original apology, yet in doing so reconfirmed that he was standing by Chappelle. The response, particularly from Netflix’s inner circle of talent and employees—who staged a walkout—was swift.

Hannah Gadsby was pretty forthright when she issued a message to Sarandos, stating:

“You didn’t pay me nearly enough to deal with the real world consequences of the hate speech dog whistling you refuse to acknowledge, Ted. Fuck you and your amoral algorithm cult… I do shits with more back bone than you. That’s just a joke! I definitely didn’t cross a line because there isn’t one.”

Elliot Page, who stars in Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, took to Twitter to express their unhappiness with the situation:

But a new groundswell of support is emerging in support of Chappelle’s right to say whatever the hell he damn pleases from the comedy community. As Deadline reports, Jamie Masada, founder of L.A.’s legendary Laugh Factory comedy club, has written an open letter to the comedy community asking for Chappelle’s fellow comedians to rally around him. In a letter that was picked up by the Los Angeles Times, Masada wrote:

“What we are witnessing is an attack on the independence of comedy and the freedoms that make comedy the most organic, noncommercial form of entertainment.

If we don’t stand up for one another it won’t just be one of us that loses this freedom—it will be all of us—and once this freedom is gone, the doors of comedic expression will be sealed shut. There’s no going back. Dave deserves the same freedoms that we all enjoy—the ones that make comedy what it is and provoke perspective shifts time and time again.”

Masada, who has known Chappelle since the comic was 17 years old, says that he has always “shown nothing but kindness, compassion and empathy for his fellow human, regardless of gender, race, status or creed.” He also added that:

“We will stand by our comedians through thick and thin, through rain and shine, through scrutiny and praise. Dave has brought joy to millions of fans across the world and inspired an entire generation of comedians. I know Dave’s character, and I know his heart. He is a gentle soul, and one that only wishes to make the world look at the mundane differently, the normal abnormally and the black and white in color. There is not a hateful thread in Dave’s DNA.”

As the Los Angeles Times noted, it was Masada who banned Michael Richards from the Laugh Factory after the Seinfeld star went on a racist rant back in 2006.

(Via Deadline)