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Home/Rod Dreher/Will They Cancel Chappelle?

Will They Cancel Chappelle?

Dave Chappelle, from 'The Closer' (GMA)

Have you seen the new Dave Chappelle special on Netflix yet? It’s not bad — not great, but not bad. It has some some laugh-out-loud lines, but mostly it’s pedestrian. Chappelle’s great, but this isn’t his best stuff. He has gotten in trouble, though, because of his critical comments about transgenders in the show. This NBC News report about the controversy quotes the controversial bits. It’s safe for work, so don’t worry:

If you’ve watched it, you will have heard that what Chappelle said is what millions and millions of us believe: that sex is a biological fact that cannot be erased, and that it is offensive to women to say that male-to-female trans persons are women. For this, the trans brigade and their fellow travelers in elite culture are calling for Chappelle’s head. Here is how The New York Times headlines its story about the controversy:

“Netflix loses its glow”? Really? The Chappelle special is one of the most watched shows on the service right now! Here’s the breakdown from Rotten Tomatoes, showing the critical response on the left, and the audience response on the right:

“Internal unrest at the company”? Three trans employees complained, with one of them making the customary bullsh*t argument that criticism or comedy about trans people is going to get trans people killed. Look, as I wrote earlier this year, this is a propaganda confection by activists. There is no evidence that of the trans people murdered, they were murdered for being trans (as opposed to dying in a domestic dispute, killed by a john — a large number of them were street prostitutes, and so forth). Do not believe these lies from the crybullies and their media allies.

This is actually about coastal media elites and trans activists trying to cancel Chappelle and any dissent from trans dogma. Here is some commentary from a prominent entertainment journalist, the former executive editor of Entertainment Weekly:

Bullies? The bullies are those who are trying to cancel a comedian, and to silence any dissent from the trans-affirmative position. There can be no debate, no discussion: you must affirm — or else. Andrew Sullivan challenged Mark Harris’s stance, and got this response:

Watch this Chappelle controversy. If Netflix caves, it’s a terrible sign. If they don’t, then maybe, just maybe, other companies will realize that they don’t have to say “How high?” every time some left-wing activist tells them to jump.

The bullying of dissenters by trans activists and their allies is taking place to a disgusting degree in the UK right now, with the case of Prof. Kathleen Stock of the University of Sussex. Stock, who is a “gender critical” feminist — meaning that she doesn’t believe, for example, that trans women are women — has been advised not to leave her home, because the police say they can’t protect her. From a column about the controversy in UnHerd:

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to chair a public event on “Hate, Heresy and the Fight for Free Speech” in London. I expected it to be a lively discussion; I’ve made two radio series celebrating the importance of disagreement. But I also expected it to be civilised, with respect shown for people, but not for bad ideas.

What I did not expect is that I would have to start the event by reading out a statement from one of the speakers because she had been advised that it might not be safe for her to leave her home and appear in person.

The speaker, as you may have guessed, was Kathleen Stock — a Professor of Philosophy who has been subjected to a campaign of harassment by anonymous trolls claiming to be students at Sussex University, where she teaches Philosophy, demanding for her to be sacked for her alleged views on transgender rights.

I say “alleged” because I have read her recent book, Material Girls, and it’s hard to see how it could be described as transphobic. “Trans people are trans people. We should get over it,” she writes. “They deserve to be safe, to be visible throughout society without shame or stigma, and to have exactly the life opportunities non-trans people do.” Certainly the book hardly amounts to “transphobic shit”, the term written on stickers that were recently plastered across Stock’s university building.

A mob of students is trying to get Stock fired for her heresy. The Sussex branch of the UK trade union representing academics threw Stock — and free speech — under the bus.

Read this piece by British lesbian feminist Julie Bindel, talking about her persecution by the trans mob simply for disagreeing with them. Here’s a piece by Anna Djinn, a British feminist who talks about how she became a TERF (Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist), the side of the debate that Dave Chappelle takes. She’s talking here about being confronted at a demonstration by three male-to-female trans persons who told her she didn’t know what it meant to be a woman:

I told them I was a mother, I’d given birth, breast fed. But they had no interest in listening to me, an actual woman, so convinced were they of their own rightness.

I went away feeling deeply disturbed. Their insistence that they were not only women, but a superior kind of woman, was almost too bizarre to take seriously. But they would entertain no dissent. Perhaps it was this that made me feel sick.

I thought of my mother, my grandmothers, of all the women who came before me, who gave me life and love. I thought of how their lives had been constrained and constricted by the system that granted the men in their lives more or less absolute power over them. I thought of their tough struggles to survive, of their determination that their children would have a better life than they did.

I thought of my own life and my defining struggle to crawl out from the Stockholm Syndrome of femininity and to find myself as actor on my own terms, not in relation to any man.

Gradually I came to see the trans-activist movement as part of the backlash to the gains women had made over the previous decades. I saw their goal with startling clarity: to return females to their place in a Stockholm Syndrome relationship with their true masters, men (as whom, in spite of their claims to be women, they clearly identified).

The trans-activist movement is not a progressive movement. At its heart it is regressive. And that is why it appeals to so many with nefarious interests.

We are told that people like Anna Djinn, Julie Bindel, Kathleen Stock, and Dave Chappelle — none of them conservative! — have to shut up. That they’re thought criminals. What kind of message does this send to girls?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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