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Dave Chappelle may have been attacked at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this month for the same reason that so many of his fans and media observers assumed.
Isaiah Lee, the audience member arrested on suspicion of assault after he allegedly climbed up onstage and charged the comedian, says in a new interview that he was offended by Chappelle’s jokes.
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee told the New York Post. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
Lee claimed that he wanted to have fun at the Netflix Is a Joke festival event, but Chappelle made jokes about his past material, which has included controversial comments about the LGBTQ community, in addition to making jokes about homelessness. Lee says he has experienced homelessness himself.
“It’s a struggle, and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke,” he told the Post. Lee also denied early reports that he has mental health issues, but his lawyer told the Post he is receiving mental health care.
Lee was quickly grabbed by security and was found to be carrying a concealed knife (which he did not attempt to use). He’s facing four misdemeanors, but Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has declined to file felony charges.
Lee added that he does not regret his actions.
The stage attack drew widespread condemnation, even among some of Chappelle’s critics, while the comic himself has largely joked about the matter during performances since then. “At least you got smacked by someone of repute!” Chappelle said at one event to fellow comic Chris Rock, who was slapped at the Oscars by Will Smith in March. “I got smacked by a homeless guy with leaves in his hair.”
Netflix, meanwhile, released the following statement after Chappelle was attacked: “We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence.”
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