Patton Oswalt apologizes for his New Year’s Eve photograph with Dave Chappelle also defends himself
Patton Oswalt, the comedian, apologised and defended his choice to upload a photo of himself and his longtime buddy Dave Chappelle despite controversy surrounding Chappelle’s views on transgender rights and identity.
Oswalt shared many images of himself and Chappelle on New Year’s Eve on Twitter and Instagram on Saturday. On Instagram, he said that he had just concluded a gig in Seattle when he received a text from Chappelle.
“Come over to the arena he’s performing in next door and do a guest set. Why not? I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago,” Oswalt wrote. “He works an arena like he’s talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. Can’t ask for much more.”
Many of the comments that have remained on Instagram are from comedians’ fans. Oswalt then acknowledged to deleting unpleasant comments.
On Twitter, the reaction was worse. “As a trans person and a fan of your work, this is extremely disappointing. You’ve been open about your journey towards more empathetic comedy, so I ask you: please think about how this makes your trans fans feel,” Someone wrote.
In October, Chappelle received outrage with the release of his Netflix special “The Closer,” which many claimed was transphobic and hurtful to transgender groups.
The scandal caused a walkout at Netflix, prompting co-CEO Ted Sarandos to admit, “I screwed up” when it came to dealing with the employees who were offended by Chappelle’s remarks. The programme is still available to watch on Netflix.
Later, Chappelle stated that he would be prepared to meet with transgender Netflix workers who have petitioned the company to delete the special, but that such a meeting would have to be on his terms. “You will not summon me,” he stated flatly.
Oswalt responded with a lengthy statement on Instagram, which was accompanied by a photo of him writing on a notebook.
“I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time this New Year’s Eve. We’ve known each other since we’re teens. He’s a fellow comedian, the funniest I’ve ever met. I wanted to post a pic & an IG story about it — so I did. The friend is Dave Chappelle,” He started.
Oswalt expressed his respect for Chappelle and stated that the two had been friends for 34 years.
“He’s refocused and refined ideas a lot of us took as settled about race & history & Life On Planet Earth and spun them around with a phrase or punchline,” Oswalt wrote.
“But we also 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation. I support trans peoples’ rights — ANYONE’S rights — to live safely in the world as their fullest selves,” he said. “For all the things he’s helped ME evolve on, I’ll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues.”
Oswalt went on to say that he doesn’t believe Chappelle is through learning, referring to his friend as a “seeker.” He also wondered if he had led people he had cut off because of conflicts to “dig their heels in deeper, fuel their ignorance with a nitro-boost of resentment and spite.”
“I’m sorry, truly sorry, that I didn’t consider the hurt this would cause. Or the DEPTH of that hurt,” Oswalt stated.
He further claimed that he “(naively) deleted a lot of posts in the comment thread,” claiming that he “wanted a ‘nice comment thread’ about the pic with my friend.”
“Ugh. So easy to think someone ELSE needs growth and miss the need in yourself. Gonna keep trying,” Oswalt finished.