Dave Chappelle won a Grammy award for Best Comedy Album for “The Closer” on Sunday night — the same standup special that sparked backlash at Netflix when it was released on the streamer in 2021.
The comedian, who has sparked outrage from the trans community for past stand-up routines, faced renewed criticism for segments of his “The Closer” set, sparking walkouts at Netflix by transgender employees and allies over the streamer’s decision to air the special.
“Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on the platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that,” GLAAD said in a statement at the time. “While Netflix is home to groundbreaking LGBTQ stories, now is the time for Netflix execs to listen to LGBTQ employees, industry leaders, and audiences and commit to living up to their own standards.”
Despite criticism, Netflix firmly stood by Chappelle.
“We don’t allow titles (on) Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a memo to staff. Netflix later signed Chappelle to make four additional comedy specials at the streamer.
“Gender is a fact,” Chappelle stated at one point in “The Closer.” “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth.” The special included further jokes deemed by many (including GLAAD) to be harmful to the trans community.
This is Chappelle’s fourth Grammy award. He previously won three consecutive Best Comedy Album Grammys in 2018, 2019 and 2020.