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Seattle Pride Statement on Dave Chappelle at Climate Pledge Arena

Dec 09, 2021 | Seattle Pride

Internationally known comedian Dave Chappelle is bringing his controversial blend of comedy to Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31, 2021). His October Netflix special, “The Closer”, included transphobic remarks and cheap shots made towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Despite requests for its immediate removal from the streaming platform, Netflix continues to run the comedy special and Mr. Chappelle has doubled-down on his problematic, harmful comments.

Seattle Pride is concerned that Mr. Chappelle’s purposeful homophobic and transphobic remarks are being given a platform at Seattle’s new Climate Pledge Arena. The Arena claims to be “… the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world”, however we do not see how this can be the case when they are hosting an individual who refuses to acknowledge – and now is further perpetuating – his harmful statements.

From the Washington Post (Oct. 7, 2021): “Jokingly referring to himself as “transphobic comedian Dave Chappelle,” the comic later pivots to commenting on trans people. Some of his jokes involve anatomy, such as when he compares the genitalia of trans women to vegetarian substitutes for meat products. At one point, he defends J.K. Rowling and says he’s “team TERF” — which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist — for agreeing that “gender is a fact.””

From GLAAD (tweet): “Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. 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.”

Seattle Pride is calling on Climate Pledge Arena to live up to their claim of being the most progressive and responsible arena in the world. They must postpone Mr. Chappelle’s performance until he issues a sincere apology to the transgender community and acknowledges the harm he causes when he normalizes anti-transgender beliefs and denies the complexities and nuances of gender.