Cancel culture is really not as effective as we were promised, because Dave Chappelle continues to succeed on the strength of virulent transphobia. His controversial Netflix special The Closer was nominated for an Emmy on Tuesday, once again proving that the woke mob has not done much damage to his career at all.
Chappelle has been on the anti-trans beat for a while now (it’s something of a cause of the day among wealthy celebs who apparently have nothing better to do), but The Closer saw backlash against the comedian reach a new peak. In response to the stand-up set, in which Chappelle declared himself “Team TERF,” Netflix employees staged a walk-out in solidarity with their trans co-workers (one of whom was reportedly fired for leaking data about the special).
Netflix, which has a very expensive deal with Chappelle, has repeatedly and unreservedly defended his work under the guise of “creative freedom and artistic expression. ” In a previous statement, co-CEO Ted Sarandos expressed to employees that “sometimes, there will be things on Netflix that you dislike. That you even find to be harmful. Where we’ll definitely draw the line is on something that would intentionally call for physically harming other people or even remove protections. For me, intent to cause physical harm crosses the line, for sure. ”
The disregard for the real harm that platforming transphobia does to an extremely vulnerable population has paid off with an Emmy nomination (Netflix’s other transphobic darling, Ricky Gervais, missed out on a nom for his special SuperNature). Chappelle has faced no true consequences for his hurtful speech (though he has tried to make some up, by baselessly accusing his onstage attacker of being a “trans man”). Instead, he has continued to enjoy critical acclaim and the support of one of the world’s largest entertainment companies. The Television Academy is just another in a long list of institutions to tacitly endorse transphobia, and its members should have to answer for it.