Titled Chappelle’s Home Team, each episode of the series will feature a different comic introduced by Chappelle, starting with Earthquake (real name Nathaniel Martin Stroman), and his special — Earthquake: Legendary — on February 28.
The news comes only a couple of months after Chappelle’s last comedy special for the streamer came under fire for including jokes that were deemed to be transphobic. The Closer debuted on Netflix on October 5, 2021, and includes bits where the comedian remarks that controversial rapper DaBaby, who also copped widespread backlash after making homophobic comments, “punched the LGBTQ community right in the AIDS.”
Chappelle also riffed that he aligns with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and others who don’t believe that transgender women are women.
Among the people who shared their concerns and outrage over Chappelle’s comments were several Netflix staffers, including trans employee Terra Field who cited the danger in the comedian’s “jokes”.
Although he faced mounting pressure to remove the special from the streaming platform’s library, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos maintained The Closer did not cross a line, telling The Hollywood Reporter that “you really can’t please everybody or the content would be pretty dull.”
“I do think that the inclusion of the special on Netflix is consistent with our comedy offering,” he said. “It’s consistent with Dave Chappelle’s comedy brand, and this is … one of those times when there’s something on Netflix that you’re not going to like.”
The controversy resulted in a huge protest taking place outside the streamer’s headquarters in Los Angeles, with hundreds of Netflix employees and their supporters protesting The Closer.
The attendees carried signs that read “Trans Lives Matter” and “Transphobia is Not a Joke” while counter-protesters retaliated with signs bearing messages such as “Jokes Are Funny,” and “Netflix Don’t Cancel Free Speech.”
Sarandos later acknowledged that he had “screwed up” and perhaps should have been more sensitive to his employees.