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Dave Chappelle’s stand-up routine triggered a walk-out by some audience members on Thursday evening, after he spoke out about the Israel-Gaza conflict.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the comedian aired his views during his performance at the TD Garden Arena in Boston, during which he condemned Hamas attacks of October 7th, and also slammed Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
The paper reports that Chappelle also said the US was guilty of aiding the slaughter of innocent civilians, and said war crimes were occurring. Chappelle went on to criticise the Israeli government for cutting off supplies to Gaza’s population, and blocking humanitarian aid. He concluded by saying that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Bizarrely, the Daily Mail reports that Chappelle had asserted, through a spokesperson, that he was not in Boston on Thursday evening, but other spectators have come forward with reports of what he said.
The WSJ reports that, while one audience member told Chappelle to shut up, others cheered and shouted “Free Palestine.” Some audience members walked out and later posted on social media, saying how Chappelle’s words had made them feel unsafe. One wrote:
“The audience was cheering Chappelle on during his tirade. I was sick. We were sick. I turned to my friends and wife and said I think it is time to go.
“We walked out and met up with many other Jews leaving the show. Never in my life have I felt so unsafe and so fearful of what I was witnessing.”
It is by no means the first time Chappelle has experienced controversy for his words. In 2022, his Netflix comedy special trigged complaints from the streamer’s own staff for his comments on the trans community. Netflix refused to pull the show from its platform, saying it was committed to upholding free speech.