American comedian Dave Chappelle assaulted on stage during his show
Steph Deschamps / May 5, 2022
Silent since his assault in the middle of his performance, Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Dave Chappelle reacts for the first time. His spokeswoman Carla Sims sent Wednesday evening a statement to CNN in which she returns on the incident and gives news of the American comedian.
As unfortunate and disruptive as the incident was, Chappelle continued his performance, she says. Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock (on hand, ed.) helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the final guests of the evening. She adds that he is fully cooperating with the police.
The incident occurred on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl, where the comedian was performing as part of the Netflix is a joke festival, organized by the streaming platform. As shown in images filmed by the audience and posted on social networks, a man threw himself on him during his show before being quickly subdued by security.
The police of Los Angeles confirmed Wednesday the incident with the AFP and declared that the attacker carried a dummy gun, equipped with a retractable knife blade. Dave Chappelle was not injured. Law enforcement sent a statement to the news agency:
The suspect pointed the object in the direction of the victim. Uniformed Hollywood Bowl security officers, who witnessed the incident, apprehended the suspect and removed him from the victim.
The assailant was turned over to police officers called to the scene, charged with assault with a deadly weapon and set bail at $30,000. Video footage showed the young man being evacuated on a stretcher. He was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to a police spokeswoman. According to CNN, the suspect has been identified as Isaiah Lee, a 23-year-old.
For its part, Netflix responded in a statement to stress that it takes the safety of performers very seriously. We strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform without fear of violence, the platform said.
This incident comes a few months after a resounding controversy around Dave Chappelle's latest show, The Closer, released by Netflix. Last October, several LGBT associations took the floor to accuse him of making transphobic remarks in this one-man show. A mobilization of Netflix employees against this show had followed, as well as a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the platform in Los Angeles.
The comedian reacted during a stage appearance, as reported by the BBC at the time: To the transgender community, I am more than willing to make your voices heard. But I refuse to be dictated to. I will not bend to any demands.
A controversy that the comedian mentioned again on stage, Tuesday night, a few minutes after the attack: It was a trans man!, we hear him joking in a video, facing a hilarious audience.