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Damon Wayans compares Dave Chappelle to van Gogh, says he's 'freed the slaves' with Netflix special

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damon wayans
Damon Wayans. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
  • Damon Wayans defended Dave Chappelle's controversial new comedy special in an interview with TMZ.

  • Chappelle's show has been met with criticism after he defended JK Rowling's TERF comments.

  • However, Wayans said that Chappelle "freed" comedians from "PC culture."

Damon Wayans defended Dave Chappelle when speaking with TMZ in light of the controversy surrounding the comedian's new Netflix special, "The Closer."

In the show, Chappelle criticized those trying to "cancel" JK Rowling for her TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) comments, said "gender is a fact" and described himself as "Team TERF." Chappelle has faced backlash in the past for his jokes about the trans community.

Speaking to TMZ, Wayans, best known for his role on "My Wife and Kids," compared Chappelle to the artist van Gogh.

"I feel like Dave freed the slaves. Yeah, the comedians," the 61-year-old actor told TMZ. "We were slaves to PC culture and he just, you know as an artist he's van Gogh. He cut his ear off. He's trying to tell us it's ok."

dave chappelle the closer
Chappelle in "The Closer." Netflix

Wayans continued: "I've always been free. I just think he's saying, 'You know what? All that I have, I'm not afraid to lose it for the sake of creative freeness of speech.' You can't edit yourself. Comedians, we're like... Mercedes makes a great car, but you gotta crash a lot of them before they perfect it."

When asked about the content of the show, Wayans responded: "I can't speak about the content of the show. But what I say is, there's a bigger conversation we need to have. Someone needs to look us in the eye and go, 'You're no longer free in this country. You're not free to say what you want. You say what we want you to say. Otherwise, we will cancel you.' That's the discussion we should have."

"He's [Chappelle] a unicorn. He's amazing. He's a van Gogh," he added.

After the release of the special, Netflix employees spoke out against it with one employee tweeting: "I didn't expect my job to include supporting the platforming of hate speech when I woke up today, yet here we are."

Dave Chappelle hosting "Saturday Night Live" in November 2020.
Dave Chappelle hosting "Saturday Night Live" in November 2020. NBC

Jaclyn Moore, the showrunner of another Netflix series "Dear White People," tweeted that she would no longer work with Netflix after they released the special. In an interview with Variety, Moore, who is trans, explained that she did not want to "cancel" Chappelle but was surprised Netflix aired the show.

Three Netflix employees were suspended earlier this week for attending an executive meeting they were not invited to in which according to Verge, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the platforming of the controversial comedy special. These employees were reinstated a day later.

Read the original article on Insider