Pete Buttigieg on Dave Chappelle's transgender jokes: 'There comes a point where you're just straight up hurting people'

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Pete Buttigieg addresses controversial comedy, including jokes about transgender people, which some say go too far. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)
Pete Buttigieg addresses controversial comedy, including jokes about transgender people, which some say go too far. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Hours ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential candidates debate in Westerville, Ohio, Pete Buttigieg faced an early question: What should we do about comedy, such as Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, “Sticks and Stones,” which includes jokes about transgender people that some people felt crossed the line?

“I haven't seen the special, but I will say that there comes a point where you’re just straight up hurting people,” Buttigieg said during an interview with “Good Luck America” on Snapchat. “I don’t know what goal you're hoping to achieve. As much as there has been a lot of political correctness, there’s also this weird way in which it’s become fashionable to attack political correctness that I think has become its own weird correctness out there.”

Chappelle is one of the many comedians who have spoken against what he sees as audiences who are too politically correct.

Dave Chappelle performs on March 25, 2016, at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. (Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Dave Chappelle performs on March 25, 2016, at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. (Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage)

When “Sticks and Stones” was released on Netflix in August, reviewers deemed it “terrible” and “out of touch.”

Buttigieg explained that, as he sees it, the issue of what crosses the line in comedy is a complex one. However, he has an easy way of determining the answer.

“At the end of the day, I may be at risk of sounding simplistic — I’m just coming at this from the perspective of, like, helping and hurting,” the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said. “Is what we are doing every day, whether you’re a politician or a comedian or an artist or a business person or whatever, are you doing more good than harm out there? And if you’re not, it’s time for some reflection and time for some adjustments.”

Buttigieg was asked in the same interview to weigh in on the debate about violence in movies, such as the controversial “Joker.”

“I think it's a cop-out to blame pop culture for violence.... What I will say is that the culture we produce, reflects us. And if you see a dark dystopian film doing well, it might be because the American people are feeling unsettled and bothered and maybe dark in a time like this."

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