A Minneapolis concert venue cancelled a Dave Chappelle show just hours before it was scheduled to start, saying it had “lost sight of the impact” the controversial comedian’s set would have on its audience. The Wednesday night show was moved to another venue across town.
“To staff, artists and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” First Avenuesaid in a statement announcing the cancellation. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. … The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest space in the country, and we will continue with that mission.”
The show was shifted to Minneapolis’ Varsity Theater.
Chappelle has received criticism over the last few years about recurring jokes aimed at the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people. His controversial Netflix special, The Closer, received two Emmy nominations.
As a result of some of his jokes, s0me employees at Netflix — where Chappelle has had four stand-up specials — staged a walkout last year. One employee, who co-led the resource group for trans employees, was fired for allegedly leaking Netflix data.
“It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused,” Chappelle responded in an Instagram video. “That is not true — if they had invited me I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about. I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said.”
Isaiah Lee, 23, is accused of tackling Chappelle onstage at the Netflix is a Joke comedy festival in Los Angeles in May, though a motive has not been established. Lee pled not guilty to four misdemeanor charges.