Dave Chappelle Show Sparks Outrage From LGBTQ+ Community Prompting Iconic Venue First Ave To Cancel

Minneapolis, MN – Dave Chappelle was expected to take the stage at First Avenue in Minneapolis on Wednesday (July 20), but the iconic venue ended up canceling the show after complaints from the LGBTQ+ community. Hours before the show, First Avenue issued a statement to its social media accounts, explaining it would be moved to the Varsity Theater.

“To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry. We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls.

“The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission. We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have. We know there are some who will not agree with this decision, you are welcome to send feedback.”

Dave Chappelle has been criticized by the LGBTQ+ community for years. In October 2021, Netflix premiered Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer, which contained commentary directed at DaBaby’s homophobic rant at Rolling Loud Miami just three months earlier. It also included issues regarding the transgender community such as Caitlyn Jenner and trans women’s bodies.

“Gender is a fact,” he said in part. “Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.”

Chappelle also found it incredulous people were more upset about DaBaby’s remarks about gay men then they were about him killing a 19-year-old man at a North Carolina Walmart in 2018 (he was cleared after investigators determined it was self-defense). While The Closer debuted in the Top 10, his critics came out in droves to express their disdain for Chappelle’s intended jokes.

Trans activist Taylor Ashbrook, who’s based in Ohio where Chappelle lives, tweeted, “As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle’s specials because I think they’re hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious. The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I’m really disappointed.”

Dave Chappelle’s Controversial DaBaby & Trans Jokes Met With LGBTQ+ Community Wrath

Chappelle’s comedy special also led to a walk-out at Netflix, while the cvil rights advocacy group, The National Black Justice Coalition, wanted the streaming giant to scrub the special from its platform completely.

“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better,” National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns said in a statement. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”

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