Netflix Refuses to Pull Dave Chappelle Special

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

In our current world of growing uncertainty, there are two things one can feel confident about never getting ‘canceled’ by the mobs…money and Dave Chappelle.

One might say they are one and the same for Netflix.

Chappelle recently made a huge splash in the culture swamp with his latest Netflix special The Closer. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been listening to the comedy legend for the last 20 years or so that his brand of comedy skates the razor thin edge between cultural parody and biting commentary. In the vein of legendary comics like George Carlin and Richard Pryor, Chappelle’s style thrives in the shady corners of the human psyche, illuminating our most ridiculous and shameful prejudices and daring us not to laugh at ourselves. We laugh because it’s absurd. We laugh because it’s true.

But apparently the progressive left has no recollection of the reputation Chappelle has cultivated for himself over the years. They have been steadily becoming more and more apoplectic over his comedy routines ever since he dropped the first of his blockbuster series of stand-up specials with Netflix. “The Closer” earned no different of a reaction as this time Comedy Central veteran took on (again) LGBTQ sensitivities and the mob mentality of cancel culture. RedState’s Brandon Morse reported on the controversy:

Chappelle’s latest Netflix comedy special “The Closer” had a few shots taken at the trans community, and needless to say, they aren’t happy.

In one segment, Chappelle says he doesn’t have a problem with transgender people but does think J.K. Rowling was mistreated for her stance on transgenderism, saying that he too is a “TERF” or a “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.”

To be a TERF means to be a part of the feminist movement but to exclude men who claim they’re women from the quest for women’s equality. Moreover, Chappelle said that gender is a “fact.”

“Gender is a fact,” he stated. “Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact. Now, I am not saying that to say trans women aren’t women, I am just saying that those p****es that they got… you know what I mean?

I’m not saying it’s not pu**y, but that’s like Beyond Pu**y or Impossible Pu**y. It tastes like pu**y, but that’s not quite what it is, is it? That’s not blood. That’s beet juice.”

The usual suspects on the progressive left have been calling for Netflix to remove the special since it aired.

But in an unfortunately surprising move, Netflix announced on Friday, via a memo from co-CEO Ted Sarandos to their employees, that they have no intention of removing Chappelle’s special from the roster, despite the complaints of the pitchfork Twitter mobs. The AV Club posted a reprint of the memo on Monday:

I wanted to follow-up on The Closer — Dave Chappelle’s latest special — as several of you have reached out following QBR asking what to say to your teams. It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues, so I wanted to give you some additional context. You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.

Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special “Sticks & Stones,” also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award winning stand-up special to date. 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, like Cuties, 365 Days, 13 Reasons Why, or My Unorthodox Life.

Several of you have also asked where we draw the line on hate. We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line. I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.

In terms of our commitment to inclusion, we’re working hard to ensure more people see their lives reflected on screen and that under-represented communities are not defined by the single story. So we’re proud of titles like “Sex Education,” “Young Royals,” “Control Z” and “Disclosure.” Externally, 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.

Today’s conversation on Entertain the World was timely. These are hard and uncomfortable issues. We all bring different values and perspectives so thank you for being part of the conversation as it’s important we’re clear about our operating principals.

Netflix’ position on Chappelle proves two things:

1)You can’t cancel someone who refuses to be canceled, and Dave Chappelle has stubbornly refused to be canceled even after the entire entertainment world wrote him off as a lunatic for once walking away from an historic $50 million dollar deal with Comedy Central.

and 2)You can’t cancel money. And Chappelle is big, big money. Netflix is notoriously tight-lipped about their ratings, but the fact that they were willing to hand the stand-up comic $20 million dollars for his efforts says a lot about what they have projected in return. And if informal ratings are any indication, Chappelle is a sure thing. His previous episode, “Sticks and Stones” garnered an almost unheard of 99% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. So far, “The Closer” stands at a 96% Audience Score.

It turns out controversy still sells and money still talks.

Netflix could have made the same overtures to the LGBTQ activists that other corporations are making, but they’ve obviously done the math and the math adds up – funny is more lucrative than virtue signaling.

In a way, it’s comforting. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The mobs can moan and wail all they want…at some point their cries will be drowned out by the sound of all those dollars dropping into bank accounts.