Comedian Dave Chappelle was criticized over his recent Netflix special where he expressed that he doesn’t believe the late pop artist Michael Jackson truly sexually assaulted young boys. He also joked about those who accused Jackson of such acts.
During a standup session, the comedian set his sites on a callout society that puts celebrities in the spotlight in front of audiences and the media for their alleged or legitimate crimes and for their offensive comments.
Chappelle spoke extensively about the claims of sexual assault against Jackson, which were made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in the documentary, Leaving Neverland.
From Chappelle’s perspective
Chappelle linked his belief of Jackson’s innocence to the fact that actor Macaulay Culkin never made claims of his own after spending time with Jackson.
“If somebody come up to me like, ‘Dave, Dave, Chris Brown just beat up Rihanna!’ I’d be like, ‘Well, what did she do?’ ‘Dave! Michael Jackson was molesting children!’ Well, what were those kids wearing at the time?'” said Chappelle. “But you know what, even if he did do it… it’s Michael Jackson. I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives. But it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it?”
Jackson’s accusers reacted to Chappelle’s set with Robson saying, “He can say whatever he wants. It reveals him, not us.”
Robson’s lawyer, Vince Finaldi stated, “It’s unfortunate that he has chosen to use his platform to shame sexual abuse victims, and spread his ignorance of sexual abuse and the way it is perpetrated upon children, in an attempt to resurrect his career.”
Chappelle seemed to anticipate such a response to his third Netflix special, Sticks & Stones. In his set, he mentioned that the reactions were precisely why his public appearances have become more and more rare.
“That’s why I don’t be coming out doing comedy all the time,” Chappelle said. “I’m goddamn sick of it. This is the worst time ever to be a celebrity. You’re gonna be finished. Everyone’s doomed.”
The comedian further commented, “Doesn’t matter what I say. And if you at home watching this shit on Netflix, remember bitch, you clicked on my face. Celebrity hunting season. Doesn’t matter what I say, they’re gonna get everybody eventually. Like look, I don’t think I did anything wrong, but we’ll see.”
An executor of Michael Jackson’s estate, John Branca, told the American celebrity news site, TMZ, that he was in agreement with what Chappelle said.