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Epaper Friday, January 21, 2022


I'm LGBTQ ally: Oswalt defends performing with Chappelle after backlash

January 04, 2022 12:32 AM

Los Angeles, Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt has defended his decision to perform with embattled comedian Dave Chappelle on New Year’s Eve.

Oswalt took to Twitter to share some reflections while discussing his longtime friendship with fellow comedian Chappelle.

The comedian shared on his Instagram he was performing his last show of 2021 at a Seattle venue, when he got a text from fellow stand-up and friend, Chappelle.

They were apparently, performing next door to each other so Chappelle invited him to a drop-in.

“Why not? I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago,” Oswalt wrote. “He works an arena like he’s talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. Can’t ask for much more.”

Oswalt’s fans did not take kindly to these words toward Chappelle, given he has been facing a backlash over comments he made in his recent comedy special “The Closer.”

The comedian has been receiving flak from the LGBTQ+ community ever since his comedy special was released on Netflix in September.

Chappelle dedicates about a third of his time discussing his past dealings with people in the transgender community getting offended by his jokes.

He was seen making remarks such as “gender is a fact” and declares himself “team TERF,” a term standing for trans-exclusionary radical feminist, in a lengthy defense of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.

Following such transphobic comments, Netflix employees and allies took to streets outside the streamer’s Hollywood offices for a demonstration.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos later admitted mistake for not being more sensitive to Netflix employees’ feelings about the content.

Following the backlash on his New Year’s Eve post, Oswalt on New Year’s Day shared another post addressing the situation.

In his new post, he noted that he and Chappelle “100% disagree about transgender rights & representation.” However, he noted that he did not believe his friend’s views on the matter were permanent.

“I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time this New Year’s Eve. We’ve known each other since we’re teens. He’s a fellow comedian, the funniest I’ve ever met,” Oswalt began his latest post.

“I wanted to post a pic & an IG story about it — so I did. The friend is Dave Chappelle. Thirty four YEARS we’ve been friends.”

He added: “He’s refocused and refined ideas a lot of us took as settled about race & history & Life On Planet Earth and spun them around with a phrase or punchline. We’ve done bad & good gigs, open mikes & TV tapings.”

After defending his longtime friendship with Chappelle, Oswalt tried to put the controversy he is facing in context and explained why he won’t cancel him from his life.

“We also 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation. I support trans peoples’ rights -- ANYONE’S rights -- to live safely in the world as their fullest selves. For all the things he’s helped ME evolve on, I’ll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues,” he wrote. “But I also don’t believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning. You know someone that long, see the struggles and changes, it’s impossible to cut them off.”

“You know someone that long, see the struggles and changes, it’s impossible to cut them off. Impossible not to be hopeful and open and cheer them on,” Oswalt said, adding he has been “carrying a lot of guilt” after cutting ties with friends who had views he couldn’t agree with or changed in ways he couldn’t “live with.”

He also explained that he has since felt “friction” over being an LGBTQ ally while also being a “loyal friend”.

“I’m an LGBTQ ally. I’m a loyal friend. There’s friction in those traits that I need to reconcile myself, and not let cause feels of betrayal in ANYONE else,” he continued.

Oswalt proceeded to apologize to his followers whose critical comments he ended up deleting, promising to continue to learn and grow from the experience, says

“And I’m sorry, truly sorry, that I didn’t consider the hurt this would cause,” he said.

“Or the DEPTH of that hurt. I’ve been messaging a lot on IG today, and the back and forth has really helped guide me in the writing of this. I (naively) deleted a lot of posts in the comment thread -- critical ones from LGBTQ writers AND shit-posts by TERF/anti-trans orcs looking for clicks & giggles.

"I wanted a 'nice comment thread' about the pic with my friend. Ugh. So easy to think someone ELSE needs growth and miss the need in yourself. Gonna keep trying.”

Despite the backlash Chappelle received, particularly from Netflix employees, the streaming platform announced in December he will take part in a new 11-day stand-up comedy festival titled “Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival” in Los Angeles featuring over 130 artists.

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