At one point, Dave Chappelle was probably one of the comedic voices of his generation. But is he still regarded that way? It feels more like he’s leaning into becoming a right-wing troll, or the kind of comedian who thinks being a “contrarian” is defined by punching down on marginalized communities. I lost faith in Chappelle’s comedy around the 2016 election, when he blamed Hillary Clinton for all of Donald Trump’s bullsh-t, and then a year later, he mocked Louis CK’s victims. Chappelle has a new Netflix special (the sixth of his Netflix deal) called The Closer. In this new special, he talks about TERFs and JK Rowling’s transphobia. It’s a huge mess.
Chappelle doubled down on transphobic jokes by weighing in on comments J.K. Rowling made in December 2019. The “Harry Potter” author conflated sex with gender and defended ideas suggesting that changing one’s biological sex was a threat to her own gender identity.
“They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God,” Chappelle says. “Effectually she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as (expletive), they started calling her a TERF. I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle says he has “never had a problem with transgender people,” but experts say the use of TERF is problematic for the trans community. TERF is an acronym that stands for “trans exclusionary radical feminists.” The term describes feminists who are transphobic. In his special, Chappelle gave the proper definition but added, “They look at trans women the way we Blacks might look at Blackface.”
TERF views “deny the validity of transgender people and transgender identities,” said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign.
“They look at trans women the way we Blacks might look at Blackface…” Meaning what exactly? That Dave Chappelle does not see transgender women as women, he sees them wearing the “blackface” of womanhood? What the actual f–k. I’m incredibly disappointed in Dave Chappelle’s social politics these days and I find it so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that he was once so in-touch with the social issues of the day, and then he just turned into an out-of-touch conservative dude who thinks it’s funny to mock transgender people.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.