Dave Chappelle Speaks Out in Wake of Netflix Stand-up Special Backlash: 'I Said What I Said'

The 48-year-old comedian also says he's open to a discussion with the LGBTQ community about concerns he was perpetuating transphobia

dave chapelle
Dave Chappelle. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Dave Chappelle is standing by his Netflix stand-up special, The Closer, but says that he's open to a discussion with the LGBTQ community about concerns he was perpetuating transphobia.

Days after the comedian's rep told PEOPLE that he was willing to speak with the streamer's employees about the controversy, the 48-year-old extended the offer to any transgender person who wanted to sit down with him — although, he did have a few conditions.

"It was said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true," he said in a video posted to Instagram on Monday, which appeared to be taken during a recent stand-up comedy show.

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"If they invited me, I would have accepted it, although I'm confused about what we're speaking about," he continued. "I said what I said. And, boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore."

Chappelle added that he doesn't "blame" the LGBTQ community for the controversy, claiming that "it's about corporate interest."

Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle.

"For the record, and I need you to know this. Everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supporting," he continued. "So I don't know what all this nonsense is about."

The comedian also told the audience that his upcoming documentary about his summer 2020 comedy tour, titled Untitled, has been excluded from film festivals because of the backlash against The Closer. "Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix. He's the only one who didn't cancel me yet," Chappelle said.

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He concluded by insisting that he's open to meeting with any members of the transgender community but joked that he has several conditions they must meet first.

"To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody's demands," he said. "And if you want to meet with me, I'd be more than willing to, but I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit that [Australian comedian and fellow Netflix star] Hannah Gadsby is not funny."

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.

RELATED VIDEO: Netflix Removes Chappelle's Show at Dave Chappelle's Request: 'I Was Furious'

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."

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."

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