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The star comedian has faced backlash for jokes labeled as trans-phobic, but Dave Chappelle himself made the decision not to put his name on the theater at his alma mater high school.
First reported by the Washington Post, Dave Chappelle announced his second thoughts while attending a dedication ceremony on Monday in D.C. at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, his alma mater.
During a speech in which he labeled criticism against him as unproductive, Chappelle said he didn’t want his name to be on the theater if it would distract students. The venue will instead be renamed the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
Since the release of Dave Chappelle’s 2021 Netflix Special “The Closer”, the comedian has faced accusations his jokes are trans-phobic from many in the LGBTQ community.
He even reportedly drew strong words from students of his own former high school regarding what they perceived as his disregard for the criticism he’s faced.
“I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child,” one student allegedly told Chappelle at the time.
Dave Chappelle builds a legacy of accomplishment and criticism
In May, Dave Chappelle was attacked while performing onstage during the Netflix Is A Joke comedy festival at the Hollywood Bowl. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the attack the next day, saying the weapon the man was also carrying was an ejectable knife.
The attacker was a member of the audience. The venue’s security team detained him and later taken to the hospital with what the LAPD described as “superficial injuries.”
After the attack, Chappelle joked that “it was a trans man,” igniting instant outrage by critics of his long-held views of the transgender community.
Despite the controversy, Dave Chappelle remains one of the most active donors of his alma mater. He’s given millions to the institution and previously said having the theater named after him would be most significant honor of his life.
“The Ellington family is my family,” Chappelle said on Monday evening.