Chappelle Attacker Not Facing Felony but Will Be 'Vigorously' Prosecuted

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has promised to "vigorously" pursue misdemeanor charges against alleged Dave Chappelle attacker Isaiah Lee after felony charges were ruled out.

Lee was arrested after allegedly charging the stage and tackling Chappelle at the end of a comedy performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement that it would not be pursuing felony charges against Lee, determining that his actions "did not constitute felony conduct," according to the Associated Press. The case was then referred to the office of Feuer, who promptly announced multiple misdemeanor charges.

"What should have been an evening of laughter at the Hollywood Bowl this past Tuesday night was suddenly interrupted when suspect Isaiah Lee allegedly charged onto the stage and tackled comedian Dave Chappelle," Feuer, a Democrat, said on Thursday in a video statement obtained by Newsweek.

Lee, 23, carried a replica gun with an attached blade to the Chappelle performance. The District Attorney's Office said that the weapon was not used during the assault, instead being located in a bag at the time of the incident, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Dave Chappelle Attacker Isaiah Lee Misdemeanor Charges
Isaiah Lee, the man who allegedly attacked comedian Dave Chappelle onstage Tuesday, was charged Thursday with four misdemeanors. Chappelle is pictured during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 20, 2022. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty

According to the misdemeanor complaint, Lee was charged with battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays the event or interferes with the performer.

"This alleged attack has got to have consequences, and this afternoon my office has filed charges," said Feuer. "My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously and we are going to vigorously prosecute this case."

Chappelle was not injured in the attack. Lee received multiple injuries while being detained at the venue following the incident. Chappelle joked with the crowd after the interruption and said that he "stomped" Lee backstage.

"Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl," Chappelle spokesperson Carla Sims said in a statement on Wednesday, according to KABC.

"He refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment," Sims continued. "As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show."

The motive for the alleged attack remains unclear, although some online commentators have suggested that controversy surrounding Chappelle's repeated targeting of transgender people in his comedy routine could be to blame.

"The attack on Dave Chappelle is just another example of how too many 'woke' Americans hate freedom of speech — so they try to shut it down through censoring, violence, or intimidation," Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic presidential candidate whose views often align with conservatives, tweeted on Thursday.

Prior to his arrest for the alleged assault on Chappelle, Lee was a struggling rapper who performed under the moniker "NoName_Trapper," according to The New York Post. One of the his songs was reportedly titled "Dave Chapelle" and seemingly referenced the Hollywood Bowl.

Other songs in Lee's rap repertoire indicate that he may be a supporter of former President Donald Trump. One song referencing the MAGA movement reportedly includes the lyrics, "Why is everybody always hatin' on my president," according to the Post.

Newsweek reached out to Chappelle's agent for comment.