Netflix protesters upset about the streaming company’s decision to air Dave Chappelle’s comedy special, in which the legendary controversial comedian says he aligns with “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” and pokes fun at transgender ideology, attacked a counter-protester with a sign that read “We Like Dave” on one side and “Jokes Are Funny” on the other, destroying the sign and then claiming the man, who was left holding the sign handle, had “a weapon” and was threatening demonstrators.
Critics — largely transgender Netflix employees — have suggested that Chappelle’s words would give way to real-world “violence” against transgender individuals — a claim questioned very recently by a notable expert in psychology from Stetson University.
Netflix initially stood by Chappelle, refusing calls from several transgender employees to pull the special and terminate the network’s relationship with the comedian, triggering the walkout, which brought “dozens” of protesters out to Netflix headquarters on Wednesday.
Video captured a particularly fraught interaction, where several anti-Chappelle protesters accosted a pro-Chappelle protester who was carrying a sign that read, simply, “We Like Dave,” and “Jokes Are Funny.”
The woke mob is out there destroying “We Like Dave” signs now pic.twitter.com/cwyfAHVXUA
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) October 20, 2021
The crowd grabs the man’s sign, then tries to destroy it, ripping off the top and leaving the man holding just a stick.
“Why is he breaking my sign?” the man says. “Don’t I have the same free speech rights as you?”
When the man moves the stick back, members of the crowd yell that “He’s got a weapon!”
The man with the sign then mocks their claims by also yelling about his “weapon.” He’s then escorted off the property.
A separate video chronicle’s the man’s other confrontations with anti-Chappelle protesters, per Fox News:
“I’m just here to say that jokes are funny people” the man explains with his hands raised in the air. “Dave Chapelle is a funny guy.”
“I love Dave,” he added as one protester shook a rattle in his face. “I don’t know why all the violence. I don’t know why all of the hate.”
For his part, Chappelle has largely laughed off efforts to “cancel” his program.
“Speaking to the roughly 18,000 people in the crowd at Los Angeles’s Hollywood Bowl while wearing sneakers and a suit, Chappelle touched on the fact that a number of individuals and groups are calling for ‘The Closer’ to be pulled from the streamer because of alleged transphobic comments he made in it,” Fox News noted.
“If this is what being canceled is about, I love it,” he said.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos largely backed Chappelle at the beginning, but he admitted Wednesday, in an apparent attempt to placate critics, that he had erred in being forcefully defensive of the network in his initial conversations.
“I screwed up the internal communication — and I don’t mean just mechanically,” Sarandos said in an interview. “I feel I should’ve made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should’ve recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through. I say that because I respect them deeply, and I love the contribution they have at Netflix. They were hurting, and I should’ve recognized that first.”