*Dave Chappelle’s rep and Netflix have issued statements in response to the comedian being attacked as he performed at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday.
The incident went down during the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival in Los Angeles. Isaiah Lee, 23, said to be a disgruntled member of the queer community, rushed the stage during Chappelle’s set and pushed the comedian, knocking him to the ground, PEOPLE reports. The attacker attempted to flee, but Dave, security guards, and members of Chappelle’s entourage caught him and allegedly served Lee a vicious beatdown.
Chris Rock later appeared on stage, took the mic from Dave and said to the crowd, “Was that Will Smith?”
“I’ve been doing this for 35 years…i just STUMPED a n*gga backstage..”Dave Chappelle https://t.co/WVZXOiAlNa
— Aaron Busby 🏁 (@MrBusby4o8) May 4, 2022
“We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence,” said Netflix in a statement following the attack, as reported by Complex.
A rep for Chappelle’s production company also released a statement.
“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl. This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70k fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment,” the rep said.
“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show. Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the last and featured musical guests for the evening, hip-hop artists yasiin bey and Talib Kweli, a.k.a. Black Star, who performed music from their new album – the first in nearly 24 years – which was released on Luminary. Other special comedic guests last night included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf,” the statement continued.
Do you all believe someone actually “snuck” this past the metal detectors and heavy security at the Hollywood Bowl? pic.twitter.com/kuggYpI0QR
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) May 4, 2022
Lee was armed with a replica gun that can eject a knife blade “when you discharge it correctly,” police said. It is unclear if he attempted to use the weapon on Chappelle. Inquiring minds want to know how Lee was able to get the gun through the security check at the Hollywood Bowl.
Lee, an aspiring hip-hop artist, has been charged with assault and is being held on $30,000 bail, according to reports. Some of Lee’s former neighbors tell the New York Post that he has a temper and is known for creating problems in his apartment complex.
“Whatever Chappelle was saying and he was not feeling, it would be no surprise to me that he would go, ‘Hey, I’m going to run up and fix it!’ ” said Russell Taylor, who lived in a Redondo Beach, California condo next to a condo where Lee resided, per the report. “You know the slap heard around the world? This is the kind of guy who would take action if you do something he did not like.”
Following the attack on Chappelle, one of LA’s biggest standup comedy clubs, The Laugh Factory, is beefing up security, TMZ reports.