By Jonathon Van Maren
At this point, the story of a celebrity getting attacked by the LGBT community for a heresy of some sort is a normal part of the news cycle. The story of a celebrity deciding to ignore the backlash, however, is uncommon enough that comedian Dave Chappelle is on his fourth or fifth news cycle. Chappelle, like J.K. Rowling, appears to be too big to cancel. We’ll find out soon.
The background is simple enough. Chappelle, a foul-mouthed comic with a total lack of reverence for progressive dogmas, announced on his recent Netflix special “The Closer” that he was on “Team TERF” (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) and mocked the sensitivities of trans activists. At one point, he highlighted the ridiculousness of Bruce Jenner winning “Women of the Year” Award after “being a woman” for only a year.
Trans activists reacted with predictable outrage. Chappelle, who is on tour, ignored them, which increased the furor.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos first defended Chappelle, and then came out with a halfway apology, noting that he “should have led with a lot more humanity … I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made.” Netflix hasn’t pulled the special yet, but hairline cracks are already spreading in the leadership’s united front. Once corporate leaders start retreating, they generally don’t stop until they’re making a groveling televised apology to representatives of the rainbow coalition.