Following student protests over his divisive Netflix comedy special, “The Closer,” US comedian Dave Chappelle has decided against having his name attached to a new performing arts theater at his former high school.
Chappelle made the revelation at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ theater dedication ceremony on Monday, June 20, according to the Washington Post.
After students at the school condemned the comedian for The Closer, which had some jokes perceived as transphobic and homophobic, the event had been postponed since November.
Chappelle discussed the rift with the student body during the dedication event on Monday, June 20, and made it apparent he was “hurt” by the criticism.
No matter what critics say, The Closer is still [one of the] most-watched Netflix specials, according to Chappelle, who also called it a “masterpiece.”
Maybe a once in a lifetime skill, according to Chappelle. “These kids didn’t comprehend that they were tools of artistic oppression,” Chappelle stated in response to the student backlash.
The more times you tell me I can’t say something, the more important it is for me to express it, he continued.
The theater will be known as the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression, according to Chappelle, rather than bearing his name.
Chappelle returned to the school to speak with roughly 600 students about the controversy surrounding his special after the original Duke Ellington criticism in November. According to Politico at the time, the comedian encountered furious students who accused him of harming trans lives and that he was acting like a “kid” under the pressure.
The most well-known former pupil of Duke Ellington is Chappelle, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the institution.
Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker are just two of the actors and comedians he has welcomed to the university.