Photo: Mathieu Bitton/Netflix

Dave Chappelle’s Netflix Special: Misunderstood or harmful?

October 14, 2021

~ 3 minutes read

Netflix released Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer, to a firestorm on social media. 

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has made several public statements in defense of streaming Chappelle’s special on the platform.

What else is each side focusing on?
  • Chappelle’s jokes about the trans community aren’t funny because they legitimize transphobic views.
  • Trans people are often subject to violence at the hands of transphobic individuals.
  • Netflix has taken down or modified content in the past out of fear it will have harmful consequences.
  • Netflix is a private company and is free to put out whatever content it wants.
  • Speech is not violence, and this comedy special will not result in physical violence.
  • Not understanding trans people is not the same as hating them.
  • The special is centered around a trans friend of Chappelle’s, named Daphne, who committed suicide after defending him to the trans community online.
The Narrative

Violence against the trans community is a serious problem, so Netflix should not support shows that demean the humanity of trans people.

What we watch matters, and Chappelle’s special risks normalizing hate and violence against trans people.

Chappelle has a right to speak his mind, and Netflix has the right to put his content on their platform. If you’re offended by it, don’t watch it.

Chappelle uses his comedic skill to ask important questions about the trans community, and their role in perpetuating violence online.

What else is the left focusing on?

  • Chappelle’s jokes about the trans community aren’t funny because they legitimize transphobic views.
  • Trans people are often subject to violence at the hands of transphobic individuals.
  • Netflix has taken down or modified content in the past out of fear it will have harmful consequences.

The narrative: Violence against the trans community is a serious problem, so Netflix should not support shows that demean the humanity of trans people.

What we watch matters, and Chappelle’s special risks normalizing hate and violence against trans people.

What else is the right focusing on?

  • Netflix is a private company and is free to put out whatever content it wants.
  • Speech is not violence, and this comedy special will not result in physical violence.
  • Not understanding trans people is not the same as hating them.
  • The special is centered around a trans friend of Chappelle’s, named Daphne, who committed suicide after defending him to the trans community online.

The narrative: Chappelle has a right to speak his mind, and Netflix has the right to put his content on their platform. If you’re offended by it, don’t watch it.

Chappelle uses his comedic skill to ask important questions about the trans community, and their role in perpetuating violence online.

What do you think? Do you agree with one side, or do you fall somewhere in between? Give us feedback on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, or by emailing info@narrativesproject.com.