Despite leftist activists’ repeated efforts to cancel him, comedian Dave Chappelle is scheduled to open Netflix’s first-ever comedy festival in Los Angeles next year.
The company announced this week that it will be holding “Netflix is a Joke: The Festival” at the Hollywood Bowl from April 28 through May 8. More than 130 comedians and performers will be a part of the event, Netflix said, and Chappelle will be a headliner.
Chappelle’s set, which is titled “Dave Chappelle and Friends,” is scheduled for April 28 at 7 p.m.
The announcement comes as Chappelle faces pressure from leftist activists to apologize for his most recent Netflix special, “The Closer,” in which he made fun of the transgender community. The activists also demanded that Netflix remove “The Closer” from its platform, but the company has thus far refused, leading to an employee walk-out in late October.
“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him,” Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a memo to employees at the time. “His last special Sticks & Stones, also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date.”
He added: “As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful … Particularly in stand-up comedy, artistic freedom is obviously a very different standard of speech than we allow internally as the goals are different: entertaining people versus maintaining a respectful, productive workplace.”
Chappelle has defended his comments, vowing to never “bend to anybody’s demands.” He also said he has “never had a problem with transgender people,” and that he has only received support from the people he knows in the LGBT community.
“For the record, and I need you to know this, everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supportive,” he said. “So I don’t know what this nonsense is about.”