Minneapolis’ Famed First Avenue Cancels Dave Chappelle Show After Backlash
On Monday, famed Minneapolis venue First Avenue announced a surprise show from Dave Chappelle, who came under fire last year for his 2021 Netflix stand-up special The Closer, which included remarks that many viewers deemed transphobic. Now, after receiving backlash on social media, First Avenue has canceled the sold-out set, previously scheduled for this evening (July 20). The comedian will now perform at the Varsity Theater, which is hosting more shows from Chappelle later in the week.
In a statement, First Avenue wrote:
To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you, and we are sorry. 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.
We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have. We know there are some who would not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.
Controversy has followed Chappelle since The Closer, which was met with intense scrutiny from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Chappelle has said that the special was unfairly portrayed in the media, arguing in a follow-up Netflix special, What’s In A Name, that “you cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance.”
Read First Avenue’s full statement below.