Thousands of fans packed Chase Center in San Francisco Thursday night, as comedian Dave Chappelle kicked off a new tour amid criticism over his latest Netflix comedy special.
The comedian said some film distributors are already dropping his documentary due to continued backlash over his latest Netflix comedy special.
Chappelle hosted the sold-out screening at the Chase Center for his new documentary called "Untitled."
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According to the Chase Center’s website, the documentary is “Fueled by the murder of George Floyd, shut-in by the closures of business due to the pandemic and provides economic and comic relief."
But, the last couple of weeks have been anything but relief for many in the LGBTQ community.
A couple weeks ago, dozens of Netflix workers walked off the job in Los Gatos and Los Angeles, calling for the removal of his Netflix comedy special in which Chappelle jokes about transgender rights and identity.
Taegan Meyer with Oakland-based organization Trans Lifeline said Chappelle’s jokes are dangerous and frankly, not funny.
“Dave Chappelle seems to think that this is all some propaganda machine pinned against him. When realistically, he’s aligning himself with really violet forces,” said Meyer.
Chappelle said on Monday that he'd be willing to meet with transgender employees of Netflix.
“If Dave Chappelle is open to having a serious conversation about the stakes of aligning yourself with such a violent force, then there’s a conversation to be had. But I don’t think we’re at that place yet,” Meyer said.
As for Thursday night’s movie screening amid all the controversy some people we spoke with say it’s not OK.
“It’s not nice to gain popularity and make money on the back of a community like that,” said San Francisco resident Tsvetam Petkov.
While others see both sides.
Police escorted a transgender Dave Chappelle show ticket holder out of the Chase Center.
The fan who calls herself "Supergirl" told NBC Bay Area that security mistakenly thought she had a phone out to record. She also said she came to the show to make a statement.
"This is my city. I am transgender and I'm proud. I want him to see that words don't get to my soul," she said.
“It’s definitely important to think about how other people feel. That they’re valid and they understand what you’re saying. But at the same time, there’s definitely room, especially in comedy, when the rules are set in a way,” said San Francisco resident James Dang.
The comedian’s documentary is going to be screened in 10 different arenas across the country.