Netflix Champions 'Safety', Condemns 'Violence' Against Stand-Up Comics After Dave Chappelle Attack

The comedian was attacked by a man who rushed the stage during his set at the Netflix is a Joke festival on Tuesday

Netflix has issued a statement after Dave Chappelle was attacked by a man during his set at the Netflix is a Joke Festival.

"We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence," a spokesperson for the streaming service said on Wednesday.

The incident between Chappelle, 48, and the man occurred near the end of his evening appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Video footage from the incident appears to show the man in a black hoodie rushing the stage and pushing the comedian to the ground. Afterward, the attacker attempted to flee the scene but was stopped by Chappelle and his security team.

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A PEOPLE staffer shared of the incident: "The people on the right-hand side of the stage were stomping on the man – I witnessed him getting pretty badly beat up. I'm pretty sure Dave stomped on him too."

Dave Chapelle
Dave Chappelle. Mathieu Bitton/Netflix

Several members of the audience that night also jumped in to help Chappelle after the incident, including Chris Rock, who had performed earlier in the night. A witness shared with PEOPLE that crowd member Jamie Foxx "got involved in the scuffle."

Rock faced his own experience with onstage violence five weeks ago when Will Smith slapped him across the face at the Academy Awards after Rock joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith's hair (Pinkett-Smith has been open in the past about her struggles with alopecia.)

"I thought that was Will Smith!" Rock joked after Chappelle's unexpected onstage attack.

Sean "Diddy" Combs, Elon Musk, Busta Rhymes, and Jimmy Iovine were also confirmed to be in the audience that night.

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Following the incident, an LAPD spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE that the suspect, identified as Isaiah Lee, 23, was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon. Lee is now being held in Los Angeles City Jail on 30,000 bond; it was not immediately clear whether or not he had hired a lawyer.

The LAPD spokesperson also confirmed Lee had been armed and was carrying a "replica-hand-gun-slash-knife." Neither Chappelle nor any of the law enforcement officers involved were harmed in the altercation.

In footage shared on Twitter, the attacker was shown being removed from the scene on a stretcher. The LAPD spokesperson told PEOPLE that Lee was treated for injuries and subsequently cleared to be charged and booked.

After the incident, Chappelle told the crowd: "Everybody compose themselves. I want this to be a peaceful moment."

Dave Chappelle attends the UK premiere of "Dave Chappelle: Untitled" at Cineworld Leicester Square on October 17, 202
Dave Chappelle. Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty

In a statement shared with PEOPLE on behalf of the Hollywood Bowl, a rep for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association stressed how seriously the organization is addressing the evolving situation.

"The safety of our artists, visitors and staff is the LA Phil's top priority," a spokesperson said.

"The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, 2022 remains an active investigation, and we are unable to comment further at this time," they added, redirecting further queries to the LAPD.

Chappelle joked after the incident that his attacker "was a trans man." The comedian previously faced criticism for jokes he made that targeted the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender people, in his October 2021 Netflix special The Closer.

In the wake of the special, Netflix has faced rising criticism from both viewers and employees, including an employee walkout in October. Dear White People executive producer Jaclyn Moore, in a statement announcing her boycott of the streamer, called the special "dangerously transphobic."

In a statement posted to his Instagram after the controversy, Chappelle welcomed conversations with the transgender community, but also defended his comments.

"I said what I said. And, boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?" Chappelle shared. "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."

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