"Dave stands by his art," a rep for Dave Chappelle tells PEOPLE after a group of Netflix employees organized a walk-out over his stand-up special The Closer

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Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle

A representative for Dave Chappelle claims he's ready to extend an olive branch after his Netflix stand-up special The Closer sparked backlash from the LGBTQ community.

The five-time Emmy Award winner, 48, is open to a dialogue with the streaming platform's employees, Chappelle's rep tells PEOPLE.

"Dave stands by his Art. Both sides of the street are talking and Dave is listening. At some point, when everyone is open, I'm sure our communities will come together," says the rep. 

Transgender activist Ashlee Marie Preston, who organized the employee walk-out and protest Wednesday at Netflix, tells PEOPLE she previously reached out to Chappelle for a conversation after the premiere of his 2019 special Sticks & Stones.

"If Dave were truly willing to come to the table, I would sit at it and respectfully have the conversation," Preston says.

A representative for Netflix did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

In The Closer, which premiered this month on Netflix, Chappelle made several jokes that targeted the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people. The streamer has since faced mounting criticism from viewers and employees over providing a platform for anti-LGBTQ views.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also denounced Chappelle's special in a statement shared after the premiere earlier this month.

"Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities," GLAAD wrote on Twitter. "Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don't support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree."

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Netflix's co-CEO Ted Sarandos initially expressed support for Chappelle, telling Variety last week that they "work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful."

He's since followed up his statement, saying that he "screwed up" his response to the issue. "First and foremost, I should have led with a lot more humanity," Sarandos told Variety this week.

"Meaning, I had a group of employees who were definitely feeling pain and hurt from a decision we made," he added. "And I think that needs to be acknowledged up front before you get into the nuts and bolts of anything. I didn't do that."