Comic Dave Chappelle Tackled on Stage at ‘Netflix Is a Joke’ Festival at Hollywood Bowl, Suspect Arrested

Comedian Dave Chappelle was tackled on stage at the Hollywood Bowl late May 3 by a man reportedly carrying a replica handgun and knife. The incident, which occurred near the end of Chappelle’s routine at the “Netflix Is a Joke” comedy festival, didn’t result in any injuries to the comic who has garnered controversy for past comments some critics contend is hate speech.

The suspect, identified in media reports as Isaiah Lee, was arrested on stage at the amphitheater by Los Angeles Police Department officers and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

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The incident comes just weeks after actor Will Smith rushed the stage at the 2022 Oscars and slapped comedic Chris Rock on national television after he made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Rock, who reportedly was in attendance at Chappelle’s performance, rushed to the comic’s side backstage following the attack. He couldn’t resist throwing another punch.

“Was that Will Smith?” Rock joked.

In a statement, Netflix said it doesn’t condone violence targeting content creators and performers.

“We strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence,” said the streamer.

Netflix Transgender Employee Behind Dave Chappelle Protest Resigns

Terra Field, the transgender Netflix software engineer who led a employee protest against the streamer’s most-recent Dave Chappelle standup comedy special, is leaving the company. Field made the announcement in a Nov. 22 social media post.

“I’m not happy that this is how things turned out, but I do think this outcome is the best for all parties involved,” Field wrote.

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Field, who headed Netflix’s transgender employee research group, along with B. Pagels-Minor reportedly are also withdrawing an unfair labor practice charge they filed against Netflix in late October that accused the company of retaliating against them for organizing a company-wide walkout over the Chappelle special.

Chappelle, who has a multi-program deal with Netflix, has made no secret his differences with the transgender population, a stance, some critics characterized as hateful and discriminatory.

The issue made national headlines after Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle’s opinions as free speech. Sarandos later apologized for his wording while maintaining his support for Chappelle.

‘You’ Top Streaming Original, ‘Halloween Kills’ Top Streaming Movie on Whip Media Charts

Netflix’s “You” led the Whip Media chart of top streaming originals and Halloween Kills the chart of top streaming movies among U.S. consumers for the week ended Oct. 17.

Season three of the psychological thriller series “You,” which started streaming Oct. 15, features the continuation of Joe Goldberg’s fraught relationship with Love, who is pregnant with his child in a new suburban home.

Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills, the latest entrant in the long-running “Halloween” horror series, is available for streaming to Peacock Premium SVOD subscribers as well as in theaters. The sequel to the 2018 reboot from Blumhouse has Jamie Lee Curtis again reprising her original teen (now grandmother) role as Laurie Strode intent on ending the murderous reign of Michael Myers.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

At No. 2 on the streaming originals chart was “Squid Game,” a South Korean series that follows a group of desperate and cash-strapped people competing in a blood-thirsty survival game. It started streaming Sept. 17.

The bronze on the streaming originals chart went to Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building.” Viewers may have been catching up with the series in the week leading up to the finale, which debuted Oct. 19.

Coming in at No. 2 on the streaming movies chart was the Marvel feature Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson. It became available at no additional cost to Disney+ subscribers Oct. 6.

Repeating at No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Netflix’s stand-up comedy special Dave Chappelle: The Closer, which started streaming Oct. 5. The show has created controversy over Chappelle’s comments about trans people.

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 17:

  1. “You” — Netflix (season premiere)
  2. “Squid Game” — Netflix
  3. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  4. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  5. “Titans” (2018) — HBO Max
  6. “The Morning Show” — Apple TV+
  7. “On My Block” — Netflix
  8. “Maid” — Netflix
  9. “Another Life” — Netflix (season premiere)
  10. “Doom Patrol” — HBO Max


Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Oct. 17:

  1. Halloween Kills — Peacock
  2. Black Widow — Disney+
  3. Dave Chappelle: The Closer — Netflix
  4. The Guilty — Netflix
  5. Halloween (2018) — Fubo TV
  6. Scream 2 — AMC+
  7. Tusk — Showtime
  8. There’s Someone Inside Your House — Netflix
  9. Halloween (1978) — AMC+
  10. Muppets Haunted Mansion — Disney+

Ted Sarandos Defends Comic Dave Chappelle Over Controversial Netflix Special

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos is defending the streamer’s decision to keep “The Closer,” an original new stand-up special featuring comic Dave Chappelle on the platform. The program has drawn protests regarding Chappelle’s comments about the transgender community.

Specifically, Chappelle, in the special, defends “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling, who has criticized transgenders and claimed they represent a threat to her own gender identity.

“They canceled J.K. Rowling – my God,” Chappelle says on the program. “Effectually she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as [expletive], they started calling her a TERF [“trans exclusionary radical feminist”] … I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”

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In an Oct. 8 staff memo, Sarandos reportedly said Chappelle is known for controversial comments — and generating lots of viewers. Netflix’s previous Chappelle special (the fifth under a long-term deal), “Sticks & Stones,” was one of the “stickiest” stand-up specials, according to the executive.

“Several of you have asked where we draw the line on hate,” Sarandos wrote. “We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe ‘The Closer’ crosses that line.”

Sarandos said he understands that distinguishing between commentary and harm is difficult, especially with stand-up comedy, which exists to push boundaries.

“Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited, but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering,” he wrote.