Dave Chappelle's Joke That Attacker Was 'Trans Man' Sparks Outrage Online

Dave Chappelle has sparked outrage among the transgender community once again, after joking that his alleged attacker was a "trans man."

The comedian, 48, was in the midst of performing at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, as part of the Netflix Is A Joke festival, when a man made his way onstage and appeared to attempt to tackle him, per video footage shared on social media.

After security apprehended the man in question, video clips showed Chappelle attempting to keep the laughs coming as he cracked jokes about the incident.

In a move that has ignited criticism, video footage shows that Chappelle quipped as he spoke to the audience in the aftermath: "It was a trans man."

His joke has sparked outrage on Twitter, where a number of detractors spoke out against the star, who last year was criticized for his Netflix special The Closer, in which comments he made were characterized as transphobic.

Weighing in on the tweets shared about the incident, one Twitter user wrote: "All these people leave out the fact Dave Chappelle joked that it was a 'trans man' that ran on stage to beat him when we don't know who it was. All we know is that things are about to get worse in this country and have been getting worse for trans people and Dave encourages it."

"I've continually said I don't think attacking Dave Chappelle was okay," they added. "All I ask is for offhand comments regardless of intent to not punch down on vulnerable communities. This one happens to be one I belong to. I'm muting this thread because it's late and nothing is gained here."

In video footage, a number of people were shown rushing onto the stage in Chappelle's defense, with Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown reportedly being among them. Brown in 2009 plead guilty to the felony assault of his then-girlfriend Rihanna.

Pointing this out, one person tweeted: "I for one love that Dave Chappelle was tackled on stage at a show that had a special appearance by his friend and known misogynist and abuser Chris Brown. Even said it was a 'trans man' to much applause after. No word if they were, but his crew did break his arms. Comedy folks."

"The guy [who] tackled Dave Chappelle was in the wrong," commented another. "But for Dave to go back on stage after 10+ people (including Chris Brown) stomped his a**, and joke that it was just a 'trans man' is so incredibly f***ed."

Echoing those sentiments, another person said: "It's terrible Dave Chappelle was assaulted. It's terrible the joke he made about it after was that it was 'a trans man.'"

Chappelle last year faced criticism from LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD, who said in a statement about his controversial special The Closer: "Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities."

One of the controversial comments involved Chappelle saying: "Gender is a fact."

"Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth," the comic said. "That is a fact."

Chappelle also included a line about trans women's genitalia, saying that it is "not quite what it is."

Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle is facing backlash after joking that his alleged attacker onstage at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl was a "trans man" on Tuesday. The comedian is pictured performing at The Imagine Ball Honoring Serena Williams Benefitting Imagine LA Presented By John Terzian & Val Vogt on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Imagine LA

Following the controversy, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos at first defended Chappelle's special and stood behind the comedian, saying: "We have a strong belief that content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm."

However, as the backlash continued, Sarandos later told The Hollywood Reporter that he "screwed up" in regard to internal communications within the company about the special.

In the ensuing controversy, an estimated 100 Netflix employees organized a walkout in late October. Netflix's handling of the situation eventually led to the resignation of Terra Field, a high-level engineer for the company and the founder of its transgender employee research group.

Ahead of the walkout, Netflix said in a press release: "We value our trans colleagues and allies, and understand the deep hurt that's been caused. We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out, and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content."

However, the controversy went further when another employee associated with organizing the walkout, B. Pagels-Minor, sued Netflix after being fired. Pagels-Minor claimed that the firing had come as a result of their transgender activism, but Netflix insisted that it was due to Pagels-Minor leaking confidential information.

Chappelle himself eventually addressed his comments, saying that, while he was open to meeting with transgender rights groups, he would not be "bending to anyone's demands."

"I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?" Chappelle stated in a post on his Instagram account. "You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I'm the only one that can't go to the office anymore."

Despite the controversy, it was announced in February that Chappelle will be releasing four new comedy specials via Netflix.

Newsweek has contacted representatives of Chappelle and the Los Angeles Police Department for comment.

Dave Chappelle's trans comments spark protest
People rally in support of the Netflix transgender employee walkout in Los Angeles, California on October 20, 2021. -Netflix bosses braced for the employee walkout and rally in Los Angeles as anger swelled over a new Dave Chappelle comedy special that activists say is harmful to the transgender community. The streaming giant has found itself embroiled in an intense and highly public controversy over Chappelle's "The Closer," in which the stand-up star insists "gender is a fact" and accuses LGBTQ people of being "too sensitive." FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images