Comedian Dave Chappelle is set to meet face-to-face with transgender critics to discuss his new stand-up special, following their recent protests of the project in which he joked about transgendered women and men dressing up as women for a party.
Chappelle plans to meet privately with several transgender activists from the national trans advocacy group, Trans Women of Color Collective, who were critical of his new Netflix comedy special “Dave Chappelle: Equanimity,” which uses the format of a stand-up routine and is scheduled to debut on March 30.
“Dave Chappelle has confirmed the full group is coming to the set to discuss the material in the new special,” a representative from Trans Women of Color Collective, Anabel Bonilla, told Variety.
Chappelle’s representatives told the publication they could not comment on the performer’s personal life, although the comedian previously announced his plan to work with transgender activists.
While many transgender advocates called Chappelle’s new set— in which he called transgender women and men dressing up as women for a party an “affair” and suggested a potential “Affair and Kids” section on Netflix— “disgusting,” other groups supported his routine, including former White House aide Valerie Jarrett.
Chappelle’s decision to meet with transgender critics comes after dozens of different transgender groups condemned his new comedy special, citing its “transphobic and homophobic jokes.”
A Change.org petition submitted by Transsexual Action, which later dropped their original demands, had urged Netflix not to distribute the special, which was three years in the making.
“As a transgender woman in my 30s, I cannot watch Dave Chappelle deliver some of the most transphobic and homophobic jokes we have ever heard,” the petition read. “I’m sure as usual, Dave Chappelle has scared people more than made them laugh.”
But others blasted the petition. In a video response, Marhanna Mok, an actress who identifies as a trans woman and used to date Chappelle, said, “So listen, I know it doesn’t matter. I know he says a lot of s–t, but the man didn’t do anything wrong. He shouldn’t have to apologize for saying something mean. Really? He says, ‘[Trans women] are garbage, and we’re worthless.’ It’s him being honest about his experiences, but I don’t think that’s any of our business.”
Chappelle previously came under fire when he told “National Urban Radio” that he knew someone he thought had sexually assaulted their daughter, although a judge later found no evidence to back that claim. He later added that he “definitely should have been smarter” about how he portrayed his experience.
Chappelle also came under fire for appearing to imply that President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, who is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for ties to the Russian government, is probably lying. He also poked fun at the controversial Black Lives Matter movement during his special and echoed an anti-Muslim sentiment and concern that “Iran has built a death ray.”