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The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association plans to increase security following comedian Dave Chappelle being attacked onstage at one of the venues they operate, the Hollywood Bowl.
“The safety of our artists, visitors and staff is the LA Phil’s top priority,” the organization said in a statement Thursday. “We are reviewing our existing procedures both internally and with the assistance of outside experts so we can continue to provide a safe and secure environment at the Hollywood Bowl. We have implemented additional security measures, including an increased number of security personnel on-site to assist with bag checks and other security procedures. We continue to cooperate with authorities in their ongoing investigation.”
Chappelle, on Tuesday, was assaulted while performing a stand-up set for the Netflix Is a Joke Fest when a man rushed the stage and tackled him to the ground. Chappelle had finished his act and was exiting the stage when the audience member jumped onto the stage, tackled the comedian and pointed a replica handgun at Chappelle. Security separated the audience member from Chappelle and took him into custody, per the LAPD. It wasn’t immediately clear if he tried to use the weapon, but police confirmed Chappelle was not physically injured in the incident.
The suspect, later identified to be Isaiah Lee, 23, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on $30,000 bail. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed four misdemeanor charges against Lee on Thursday after the DA declined to pursue felony charges.
Chappelle, who is fully cooperating with police amid the active investigation, said via his rep Wednesday that he “refused” to let the incident overshadow his Hollywood Bowl sets.
“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl,” said his rep, Carla Sims, in part. “This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.”
Attendees captured the moment on social media, with footage showing the man being dragged away by security and Chappelle regaining his composure shortly after the attack by saying, “It was a trans man.” (The line is a reference to ongoing controversy surrounding his material being called transphobic.)
Chappelle was performing as part of Netflix’s 11-day stand-up comedy festival, which features 130 comics across 25 Los Angeles venues and such names as Seth Rogen, Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr and Conan O’Brien.
The Chappelle incident follows two recent Hollywood breaches of onstage security involving high-profile talent. At the 2022 Oscars in March, Will Smith famously slapped presenter Chris Rock and was not escorted out of the venue after the assault (Rock decided not to press charges), resulting in weeks of finger-pointing and concern over protecting comics from audience members. And at CinemaCon, Olivia Wilde was unexpectedly served custody papers from ex Jason Sudeikis while presenting her upcoming movie Don’t Worry Darling.
The movie theater owners confab said it plans to take a closer look at security protocols following the Wilde incident, saying that “never in the history of the event” had an incident, specifically a star being randomly approached onstage, ever occurred.
Tuesday night’s event was Chappelle’s fourth night at the Hollywood Bowl, where he’s been performing with various comedians and musicians. He also was the opening-night headliner on April 28. At that show, guests had to go through security and metal detectors on the way inside.
“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,” said Netflix on Wednesday.
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