On my way home from work the other day, I was steadily contemplating what to write about Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up comedy show, The Closer now on Netflix. Immediately after it’s debut, The Closer, which is the last of a series of comedy shows the comedian hosted. It’s been quite the talk of the internet. Not even a day had passed before folks took to social media to either praise or bash Dave’s show. The transgendered community as far as I had read were already calling for Chapelle to be cancelled and his programming removed from Netflix. A Netflix show writer, Jaclyn Moore was one of the more vocal folks who called for the show’s removal and refused to work in protest.
But then again, last I checked actively deciding to not show up to work (even in protest) well usually ends in suspension if not immediate termination or insubordination. And in a shocking turn of events, Netflix let go of the writer in addition to 2 other Netflix employees who vocalized their opinions publicly and in protest. A walkout has been planned for Wednesday, October 20th. In addition to the online Tweets, the show had been leaked to the press a day before its debut by an unknown employee and walkout organizer. The employee was since fired. In addition to that a virtual meeting amongst directors and VPs had been “crashed” without proper notification to the meeting’s organizer.
Yet the online media giant maintained solidarity by allowing the show to remain amid its streaming lineup.
Netflix CEO, Ted Serandos defending the show in an email with the following statement:
“Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries,” Sarandos wrote to staff. “Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Although Serandos has since regretted his wording, he still remains firm in his decision.
Chapelle whose comedy I’ve always enjoyed, towards the end of the show made a serious statement about a trans woman he befriended who took her life. He commented with another joke but more importantly how he had set up a trust fund for the deceased’s child. If that’s not showing solidarity I don’t know what is. I found it ironic that they have glossed over that fact to dwell on his TERF comments.
As a non-hetero, Jewish woman of color… a minority within a minority within another minority, I took no offense to his statements. While I am disheartened by the 40 trans lives lost this year, where is the outrage for all black women’s lives lost? Our numbers sadly average around 4 a day in this country. Referencing his comments about rapper DaBaby, where he has made several disrespectful lyrics pertaining to black women and men, there was no attempt to cancel him until he made a statement at a concert regarding the gay community. This brings me to the overall hypocrisy of the LGBTQ+ community. Why? Because there is so much intersectional racism in addition to other ostracizing issues being glossed over simply to cancel anyone who simply speaks differently or disagree. And isn’t that the basis of comedy… to speak out and speak differently? And while the former employee states that Chappelle’s show pits the trans community against other marginalized groups, what folks do not realize is that there is plenty of bias to go around within the gay community… not just race.
Maybe it’s the hypocrisy for me in the LGBTQ+ community where bisexuals are invalidated or people of color are unseen. Regardless of such, the LGBTQ+ community needs inner work much like the black or feminism communities. It’s not about the sensitivity, it’s about censorship. Especially in a place where censorship should be excluded. Some have made the comparison to comedians in black face, something that Dave Chappelle sarcastically mentioned in his special. Maybe I was one of the few who put aside their feelings and noticed the connection but then again I understand his brand of comedy. But to quote comedian Flame Monroe, comedy is a place where what you say should be safe. Monroe has since gone on to publicly defend Chappelle by saying No Joke is off limits.
She further went on to say that she can hide the fact she is a comedian or even trans but she can never elude her blackness.
Even social media personality Chris Crocker who has since come out as transgendered and now goes by Cara Cunningham chimed in her opinion. As a white trans woman, she stated that she does not want to invalidate others that are trans but does not speak for all trans people and didn’t seem to take the same offense as others to Chappelle’s statements in comedic format.
So what does this mean for cancel culture?
It’s gotten so intense that statements from your past can come back to bite you in the ass. Just look at Kevin Hart who lost the chance to host the Oscars or Hartley Sawyer who played The Elongated Man on the DC/CW’s Flash. He lost his job resulting in last season’s rewrites and a future recasting of the character. Even Guardians of The Galaxy’s director, James Gunn was among those who was cancelled, although he has since reemerged in Hollywood having directed this year’s Suicide Squad sequel… something that is rare these days.
Are we becoming a society afraid to voice opinions for fear of being “phobic”? Is comedy headed towards being censored?
Until Next Time Kiddies,
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