Dave Chappelle's new Netflix stand-up special, Sticks & Stones, was released on Monday

By Helen Murphy
August 27, 2019 09:30 AM

Dave Chappelle defended Michael Jackson against the sexual abuse allegations made in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland during the comedian’s newest Netflix stand-up special, Sticks & Stones.

In Leaving Neverland, two men — Wade Robson and James Safechuck — allege that the late music icon sexually abused them when they were children. The Jackson estate has sued HBO and slammed the documentary, calling it “another rehash of dated and discredited allegations.”

Chappelle, 46, spoke out against the documentary as he joked about “celebrity hunting season” and spoke about the careers of R. Kelly and Kevin Hart.

“Michael Jackson has been dead for 10 years and this n— has two new cases,” Chappelle said, adding that the documentary was “f—ing gross … really nasty s—.”

“I’m gonna say something that I’m not allowed to say,” the comedian added, referring to Jackson’s accusers, “but I gotta be real. I don’t believe these mother f—ers. I do not believe them.”

Dave Chappelle; Michael Jackson
| Credit: Shareif Ziyadat/WireImage; Carlo Allegri/Getty

Chappelle continued, calling himself a “victim blamer” and saying that if someone told him Jackson was “molesting children,” he would respond, ” ‘Well, what were those kids wearing at the time?’ ”

“I don’t think he did it, but you know what? Even if he did do it … you know what I mean?” he said. “I mean, it’s Michael Jackson. I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives, but it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it? This kid got his d— sucked by the king of pop. All we get is awkward Thanksgivings for the rest of our lives. You know how good it must have felt to go to school the next day after that s—?”

“I know it seems harsh, but somebody’s gotta teach these kids,” Chappelle continued. “No such thing as a free trip to Hawaii. He’s going to want to look at your butthole or something.”

Chappelle then spoke about Kelly — who has recently been charged with sexual assault and abuse, among other charges — but said the musician was “different” than Jackson because, Chappelle believes, “he did that s—.” (Kelly, 52, has pled not guilty to the charges.)

The comedian then explained why he didn’t agree to take part in the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, saying, “I don’t know this n— at all. I don’t know anything.”

Speaking about Hart, whose past homophobic tweets caused him to step down from hosting the 91st Oscars a mere two days after being given the job last year, Chappelle called the comedian “damn near perfect.”

“As close to perfect as anybody I’ve ever seen. In fact, Kevin is precisely four tweets shy of being perfect,” he said.

Dave Chappelle
| Credit: Mathieu Bitton/Shutterstock

Leaving Neverland premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. In the documentary, both Robson, 36, and Safechuck, 41, detail their alleged inappropriate experiences with Jackson.

Safechuck met Jackson when he was cast in the singer’s 1986 Pepsi commercial. He said the pop star took him and his family on tour, where their relationship allegedly turned sexual when Jackson taught Safechuck how to masturbate.

“He set it up like I’m going to show you something that everybody does and you’ll enjoy it,” Safechuck said. “It felt like you were bonding, in a way. The tour was the start of this sexual, like, couple relationship.”

Robson, meanwhile, met Jackson when he was 5 years old after he won a shopping mall dancing competition in his native Australia. By 1990, when Robson was 7 years old, the family came into contact with Jackson again during a vacation in Los Angeles. Robson alleged Jackson convinced Robson’s mother to let him stay over alone with the singer while the rest of his family went on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Robson then alleged Jackson performed oral sex on him and kissed him while his family was away, claiming Jackson told him, “You and I were brought together by God. We were meant to be together. This is how we show love.”

Michael Jackson and Wade Robson
| Credit: HBO

Safechuck alleged the singer trained him to cover their tracks early on.

“He would run drills with me where we’d be in the hotel room and he would pretend like somebody was coming in and you had to get dressed as fast as possible without making noise,” Safechuck said.

Similarly, Robson claimed Jackson told him if anyone “ever found out what we were doing about the sexual stuff, that he and I would be pulled apart and we would never be able to see each other again. And that he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives.”

Robson and Safechuck had both denied being molested by Jackson in the past, before he died in 2009. Robson previously appeared as a witness for Jackson’s defense during a sexual abuse trial in 2005 in which the pop star was acquitted of child molestation charges.

James Safechuck and Wade Robson
| Credit: Chevaz Clarke/CBS

“This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,” the Jackson estate said about Leaving Neverland in a statement in January.

In late February, two co-executors of Jackson’s estate and Optimum Productions sued HBO and its parent company, Time Warner, for $100 million, claiming that airing the two-part film would violate a non-disparagement clause, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. “Michael Jackson is innocent. Period,” the lawsuit says in part.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, HBO responded: “Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland. … This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”