Wed, 29 Jun 2022

Washington [US], June 21 (ANI): Following student backlash to his controversial Netflix comedy special, 'The Closer', comedian Dave Chappelle has decided not to have his name attached to a new performing arts theatre at his old high school.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Washington Post reported, that Chappelle made the announcement at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts' theatre dedication ceremony on Monday night. The event had been postponed since November after students at the school chastised the comedian for his film The Closer, which featured a number of transphobic jokes.

At the dedication ceremony, Chappelle addressed the rift between him and the student body, stating that the backlash had "hurt" him.

As per HuffPo editor Philip Lewis, Chappelle said, "No matter what they say about The Closer, it is still [one of the] most-watched specials on Netflix," adding that it was a "masterpiece." Lewis wrote that Chappelle described himself as "maybe a once in a lifetime talent." Speaking to the student backlash, Chappelle said, "these kids didn't understand that they were instruments of artistic oppression.""The more you say I can't say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it", he added.

Instead of his name, the theatre will be known as the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression, according to Chappelle.

Following the initial Duke Ellington backlash in November, Chappelle returned to the school to speak with nearly 600 students about the controversy surrounding his special.

Politico reported at the time, that the comedian received a chilly welcome, was accused of endangering trans lives, and was told that he was handling the storm of criticism like a "child", as per The Hollywood Reporter.

Chappelle is Duke Ellington's most famous former student, having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the school and bringing celebrities such as Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker to campus. (ANI)

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