Dave Chappelle's Show Moved to Different Venue in Minneapolis Following Backlash: 'We Let You Down'

Dave Chappelle’s comedy show on Wednesday in Minneapolis has been moved to a different venue after the club faced public backlash for booking him.

via People:

Chappelle’s performance was canceled and moved from First Avenue to a new location called Varsity Theater hours before the show was scheduled to take place.

Chappelle’s representatives did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

“To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” the venue wrote in a statement via Instagram. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls.”

“The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission,” the statement continued. “We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have.”

In the statement, the club — which is located in the same city where multiple protests broke out following the 2020 murder of George Floyd — said they welcomed feedback for anyone who disagreed with their decision.
Varsity Theater, where Chappelle, 48, was already scheduled to perform on Thursday and Friday, confirmed it would also be hosting him on Wednesday via a statement on Twitter.  

“Attention Dave Chappelle Fans! The show scheduled for tonight at First Ave has now been moved to Varsity Theater,” the establishment tweeted. “Your tickets from First Ave will be honored. Doors open at 8PM and we highly recommend arriving early. This event will be a phone-free experience.”

Chappelle has found himself embroiled in several controversies as of late.

Last year, he made several jokes that targeted the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people, in The Closer, which premiered in October on Netflix. The streamer has since faced mounting criticism from viewers and employees over providing a platform for anti-LGBTQ views.

While speaking out over the controversy, Chappelle said he stood by what he said during the stand-up special but was open to a discussion with the LGBTQ community about concerns he was perpetuating transphobia. 

“It was said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix, and I refused. That is not true,” he said in a video posted to Instagram, which appeared to be taken during a stand-up comedy show.

“If they invited me, I would have accepted it, although I’m confused about what we’re speaking about,” he continued. “I said what I said. And, boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not? You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”

Chappelle added that he doesn’t “blame” the LGBTQ community for the controversy, claiming that “it’s about corporate interest.”

“For the record, and I need you to know this. Everyone I know from that community has been nothing but loving and supporting,” he shared in part. “So I don’t know what all this nonsense is about.”

Following the criticism, Chappelle teamed up with Netflix to host and executive produce four comedy specials, collectively titled Chappelle’s Home Team, which was announced in February. The specials are stand-alone shows that each feature a different comic introduced by Chappelle.

Then, in May, Chappelle was knocked to the ground by a man in a black hoodie who rushed the stage while he was performing a set at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

That man was later identified by police as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, who attempted to flee but was stopped by security guards and members of Chappelle’s team.

Police initially said that Lee would be charged with assault with a deadly weapon – he was allegedly carrying a “replica handgun-slash-knife” – which is a felony, but on May 5, a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson issued a statement to PEOPLE saying, in part, that the office “has referred the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for misdemeanor filing consideration.”

Hours after the case was referred, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced new charges against Lee, including battery, possession of a weapon with the intent to assault, and charges relating to interfering with a performance.

Weeks later, Lee was charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing his roommate in December. He pleaded not guilty and his attorney, Chelsea Padilla, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

If Dave wants to stand on his right to make transphobic jokes, people can stand on their right to protest and decline hosting his shows.

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