Dave Chappelle's Netflix special sparks 'cancel culture' controversy

Netflix may have banked on Dave Chapelle’s new stand-up comedy special, “Sticks & Stones,” getting plenty of buzz, but some say the comedian’s jokes about a slew of controversial topics including the #MeToo movement went too far.

Chapelle describes the current post #MeToo climate in Hollywood as the “cancel culture” where celebrities like fellow comedians Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart have become victims of today’s “celebrity hunting season … This is the worst time to be a celebrity,” quips Chapelle. “Everyone is doomed.”

“Of course it's a sensitive situation for Netflix,” says media analyst Porter Bibb exclusively to FOX Business, “but Chappelle fans won't mind and #MeToo protesters will take out their wrath on Twitter.”

And that's exactly what happened.

Within hours of the special dropping on Netflix earlier this week, the Twitter world lit up, with Vice going so far as to tell readers to skip it.

Vice's Taylor Hosking skewered Chappelle's defense of Michael Jackson, Kevin Hart and Louis C.K. as well as the comedian's schtick on the trans community.

Michael Jackson accuser Wade Robson isn't dancing around the growing outrage, telling TMZ Wednesday the Netflix special serves to "shame victims" and is "disgusting, irresponsible and inexcusable."

Alison Herman of the Ringer also blasted the renowned comic, saying he is becoming more difficult to romanticize.

"Chappelle shares a basic misunderstanding of power—as well as the resulting victim complex—with many other celebrities, and a set of deeply held assumptions with that one uncle you pray you don’t wind up next to on Thanksgiving."

- Alison Herman/The Ringer

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2018 file photo, Dave Chappelle speaks at the press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Chappelle plans to host a special block party and benefit concert in southwest Ohi

D. Watkins of Salon took on Chapelle's critics, suggesting the controversial comedian is doing exactly what Netflix is paying him for.

"Comedians are supposed to express the things we can't or won't say, poke fun at the many biases people have, and highlight — which isn't the same as upholding — stereotypes as a way of shining a light on gaps in understanding."

- D. Watkins/Salon

Filmmaker Dream Hampton, who was behind the documentary series some say eventually took down R&B singer R. Kelly over sex abuse charges, also took a swipe at Chappelle.

Netflix reportedly paid Chappelle a monster $60 million in 2016 for a three-special deal which New York Magazine's music critic took on.


However, analysts predict the backlash won't take a bite out of Netflix's billion-dollar empire.

“No cancellations likely, but Netflix must issue a statement pointing out that they do not subscribe to such disparaging comments and that Netflix is bound by the constitutional right of free speech,” explains Bibb.

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Netflix did not respond to FOX Business' inquiries at the time of publication.