Great comedian Damon Wayans speaks out on the ongoing public schism around Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special “The Closer” and says he thinks Chappelle is “a unicorn” for resisting “PC culture” .
“I feel like Dave freed the slaves – the comedians,” the “Major Payne” actor, 61, told TMZ of Chappelle’s controversial Netflix special during a brief exchange at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Monday. “We were slaves to PC culture, and as an artist he is [Vincent] Van Gogh. He’s cut off his ear and he’s trying to say, ‘It’s okay.’ “
The 48-year-old “Blue Streak” actor is criticized by many in the LGBTQ + community for the comments he made about transgender people in his stand-up special.
When asked if he felt he now had the freedom “to be a little bit riskier” in his own stand-ups, Wayans said he always felt free to express himself and had never bowed to pressure to change his performance for anyone.
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Wayans also argued that the art of comedy is under duress and that he believes freedom of expression is threatened by the cancellation of culture. Wayans said he stood by Chappelle’s side and compared the comedian’s success and longevity to that of a Mercedes-Benz.
âI just think he’s saying, ‘With everything I’ve got I’m not afraid of losing it in the name of free speech,â he explained. “You can’t ride yourself. The comedians, us – like, Mercedes make a great car, but they crash a lot before they perfect it.”
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As part of the larger debate, a Netflix software engineer by the name of Terra Fied tweeted Wednesday about Chappelle’s latest effort and wrote that the comedian “is attacking the trans community and the very validity of transness.”
The tweet was followed by a storm of 47 more tweets from Fied, which listed the names of members of the transgender community who were killed. The thread quickly entered viral territory, catching the attention of the streaming giant.
According to The Verge, Netflix then suspended Fied and two other employees for allegedly attempting to attend a meeting with company executives they were not invited to. Variety also reported that an investigation is underway.
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Additionally, another Netflix employee is also reportedly leaving the company due to the suspension and how allegations of transgender attacks have been handled.
The company told The Verge in a statement that Fied was not suspended for tweeting her thoughts on the original special.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos reportedly defended the Chappelle special in an employee email and confessed that stand-up comedy is “an important part of [Netflixâs] offering content. “
Meanwhile, Wayans insisted that the larger discussion center on why the expression of individual opinions appears to be under siege.
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âI can’t speak to the content of the show, but what I will say is that there is a bigger conversation that we need to have,â he said. “Someone has to look us in the eye and say, ‘You are no longer free in this country. You are not free to say whatever you want. You say what we want you to say, otherwise, we will tell you. will cancel. ‘This is the discussion we should be having. “
The Chappelle special currently holds a firm audience score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes with over 1,000 actual ratings.