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Dave Chappelle’s representative is pushing back on a report that claimed “Saturday Night Live” writers were staging a boycott ahead of his hosting the show this weekend.
On Wednesday, The New York Post, citing an anonymous source, reported writers on the show were going to sit out on the episode.
News of Chappelle’s hosting was met with furor on social media given his comments over the years about the transgender community. It may have been exacerbated given that the show announced in September that it was adding its first non-binary cast member, comedian and actor Molly Kearney, and has a trans non-binary writer, Celeste Yim.
After the announcement, Yim reportedly wrote on Instagram Stories: “I’m trans and non-binary. I use they/them pronouns. Transphobia is murder and it should be condemned.”
An insider told Page Six, “They’re not going to do the show. But none of the actors are boycotting.” According to his representation, Chappelle was at 30 Rock on Tuesday meeting with writers and producers and “there was no evidence of a boycott.”
“We’ve seen nothing to support media reports of a writer’s boycott,” Chappelle’s rep told CNN in a statement. “In fact, the writers delivered over 40 sketches for Dave’s consideration and collaboration. Just as during Dave’s past ‘SNL’ appearances, you won’t want to miss it!”
Chappelle’s return this weekend comes as the comedian has faced continued backlash for his 2021 Netflix special “The Closer,” due to his remarks about the LGBTQ+ community, in particular his focus on the transgender community.
— Alicia Victoria Lozano (@aliciavlozano) October 20, 2021
Netflix has stood by its decision to stream the special, however, his words have not come without consequences and repercussions to not only Chappelle’s livelihood — but his life.
— abazar ?? (@abazar) May 4, 2022
In May, while performing at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl arena, videos from audience members’ cellphones quickly flooding social media and showing a man appear to run onto the stage and tackle him. None knew at the time the man was also armed and dangerous.
Weighing in on the tweets shared about the incident, one Twitter user wrote: “All these people leave out the fact Dave Chappelle joked that it was a ‘trans man’ that ran on stage to beat him when we don’t know who it was. All we know is that things are about to get worse in this country and have been getting worse for trans people and Dave encourages it.”
LGBTQ advocacy groups and some employees have decried Chappelle’s special as transphobic and harmful to transgender communities.
“Netflix needs to do a better job of listening. We’ve seen the effects of attacks on marginalized communities, most recently with the AAPI community,” said Alex Paris of Stonewall Democratic Club, an LGBTQ, feminist and progressive political advocacy organization. “When we don’t stand up for marginalized communities, violence goes unchecked.”
2021 was the deadliest year for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. on record. At least 50 trans and gender non-conforming people were killed last year alone, per a report by LGBTQ advocacy organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—the highest number of deaths since the organization began recording fatal violence in 2013.
All three of Chapelle’s SNL hosting appearances will have aired less than a week after a national election, with his most recent taking place Nov. 7, 2020.
After weeks of headlines dominated by election coverage, Ye and Kyrie Irving — not to mention his awkward-at-best reception at SNL — Dave Chappelle will have no shortage of material, the only question remaining is if the show will go off without a hitch.