Dave Chappelle sides with JK Rowling and slams the trans community

‘I’m Team TERF’: Dave Chappelle sides with JK Rowling in transgender spat and slams the trans community for canceling the Harry Potter author

  • Dave Chappelle defended JK Rowling during his new Netflix special, The Closer
  • The comedian chastised the trans community for canceling the celebrated author and labeling her a a trans-exclusionary radical feminist 
  • Chappelle said ‘Gender is a fact,’ and poked fun at transwomen’s anatomy
  • He also criticized the push to cancel rapper DaBaby for his recent transphobic comments but not the his 2018 murder charges
  • Chappelle ended the special by saying he would refrain from any more jokes at the expense of the LGBTQ community 

Comedian Dave Chappelle has enthusiastically backed JK Rowling in her spat with the transgender community, saying he is ‘Team TERFT’ while slamming them for canceling the Harry Potter author.  

During his sixth Netflix special, The Closer, Chappelle, 48, joked about Rowling’s 2019 argument that transgender women were not actually women and were a threat to her identity. 

Rowling, 56, received a slew of hate messages and death threats for her comments on sex and gender, with #RIPJKRowling trending on social media last year. 

She was labeled a TERF, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist, and Chappelle said he embraced the label. 

‘I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact,’ Chappelle. 

Dave Chappelle, left, defended JK Rowling during his latest Netflix special, The Closer, saying that ‘Gender is a fact,’ in support of Rowling’s previous remarks against transwomen

Dave Chappelle’s The Closer premiered on Netflix on October 5, where the comedian returned to the stage and made a slew of controversial jokes

In his standup routine, Chappelle said women view transwomen the way black people people view white people wearing blackface, and said that women have a right to be angry at transwomen, citing the fact that Caitlyn Jenner won Glamour magazine’s 2015 Woman of the Year award. 

‘I’d be mad as sh*t if I was a woman,’ Chappelle said. 

He also joked about the anatomy of transwomen, joking that they lacked real female reproductive organs and that they did not have blood but ‘beet juice.’ 

Chappelle faced backlash for his jokes, with trans actress and director Taylor Ashbrook tweeting, ‘As a trans woman, I have usually defended Dave Chappelle’s specials because I think they’re hilarious and his jokes about trans women never felt intentionally malicious.

‘The Closer changed my mind on that. That special felt so lazy and disingenuous and I’m really disappointed.’

Vulture Writer Kathryn VanArendonk also tweeted, ‘I just have to believe by this point that even the most devoted chappelle audience would love to hear material on something other than his obsession with trans bodies.’ 

Another Twitter user, with the handle Thisguyhere, even accused Chappelle of being Trump-like in the new special. 

‘Dave chappelle spent more time and jokes on gay and Trans people than he did white people, the supposed people all his jokes are directed at. This dude has reach trump level gaslighting in The Closer.’ 

Rowling was not the only victim of cancel culture that Chappelle mentioned, as he brought up the case of East Coast rapper DaBaby, Jonathan Lyndale Kirk.

Chappelle criticized the public’s push to cancel Kirk after he made transphobic comments at a recent Miami music festival about people with HIV and AIDS, rather than choosing to cancel him for his alleged involvement in a 2018 shooting that left a 19-year-old dead.  

During his latest show, the comedian took shots at the trans community, much like he did during his 2019 special Sticks & Stones 

Chappelle criticized the publics push to cancel rapper DaBaby, pictured, for his alleged transphobic comments earlier this year but not for his 2018 murder charges

‘DaBaby shot and killed a [man] in Walmart in North Carolina. Nothing bad happened to his career,’ Chappelle said. ‘Do you see where I’m going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a [man], but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.’ 

Charges against Kirk were dropped in 2019 after a key witnessed failed to show up to testify in court, Fox News reports. Kirk claimed he had been defending himself from being robbed by 19-year-old Jaylin Craig. 

This is not the first time Chappelle has targeted drama in the trans community during his standup. 

In 2019, Chappelle received backlash for the alleged transphobic remarks he made during his Sticks & Stones special. 

During the latest standup special, which is set to be his last before he goes on break, Chappelle had said he would not be doing anymore LGBTQ jokes as long as the community stops trying to cancel black men for making derogatory remarks.   

‘Until we are both sure that we are laughing together. I’m telling you, it’s done. I’m done talking about it. All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people.’

The Closer will be Chappelle’s last standup special on Netflix before he goes on break

Chappelle is not the first to defend Rowling, as last year, a collection of over 50 actors, writers, playwrights, journalists joined together to pen a letter in response to ‘hate speech’ directed against Rowling.

Signatories of the letter include Booker winner Ian McEwan, actor Griff Rhys Jones, actress Frances Barber and playwright Sir Tom Stoppard.

It was was triggered in response to the hashtag #RIPJKRowling trending at number one on Twitter and said Rowling was a victim of ‘an insidious, authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media’.

The letter wrote the hashtag declaring her dead on social media was ‘just the latest example of hate speech directed against her’.

Earlier this year, The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland ruled it was ‘not fair’ for a radio show panelist Matt Cooper, of The Last Word, to brand Rowling a ‘transphobic bigot’ without evidence.

Complaints were made following the broadcast last year, and Ireland’s top broadcast regulator said the remark was ‘not fair’ as there was no ‘evidence’ to ‘back up’ the claim.

The BAI added the host failed to challenge the statement, ruling that the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs was breached.

It is the first time the BAI has endorsed a complaint in almost three years.


JK Rowling has been subjected to an onslaught of abuse that highlights an insidious, authoritarian and misogynistic trend in social media.

Rowling has consistently shown herself to be an honourable and compassionate person, and the appalling hashtag #RIPJKRowling is just the latest example of hate speech directed against her and other women that Twitter and other platforms enable and implicitly endorse.

We are signing this letter in the hope that, if more people stand up against the targeting of women online, we might at least make it less acceptable to engage in it or profit from it.

We wish JK Rowling well and stand in solidarity with her.

Ian McEwan, author; Lionel Shriver, author; Griff Rhys Jones, actor; Graham Linehan, writer; Maureen Chadwick, writer; Andrew Davies, writer; Frances Barber, actress; Craig Brown, writer; Alexander Armstrong, actor; Amanda Craig, writer; Philip Hensher, writer; Susan Hill, writer; Jane Thynne, writer; Ben Miller, actor; Simon Fanshawe, writer; James Dreyfus, actor; Frances Welch, writer; Francis Wheen, writer; Arthur Matthews, writer; Aminatta Forna, writer; Joan Smith, writer; Nick Cohen, journalist; Kath Gotts, composer & lyricist; Ann McManus, writer; Eileen Gallagher, writer & producer; Jimmy Mulville, producer; Lizzie Roper, actress; Stella O’Malley, author; Nina Paley, animator; Julie Bindel, journalist; Abigail Shrier, journalist; Rachel Rooney, author; Jane Harris, writer; Tatsuya Ishida, cartoonist; Lisa Marchiano, author; Zuby, musician and author; Debbie Hayton, journalist; Gillian Philip, Author, Jonny Best, musician; Manick Govinda, arts consultant; Russell Celyn Jones, writer; Magi Gibson, writer; Victoria Whitworth, writer; Dr Mez Packer, writer; Grace Carley, producer; Sam Leith, journalist; Malcolm Clark, television producer-director; Shirley Wishart, musician; Charlotte Delaney, writer; Nehanda Ferguson, musician; Justin Hill, writer; Trezza Azzopardi, writer; Birdy Rose, artist; Jess de Wahls, textile artist; Mo Lovatt, writer; Simon Edge, novelist; Tom Stoppard, playwright; and Amanda Smyth, writer  

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