After Dave Chappelle was knocked to the ground during his Netflix Is a Joke festival set, his attacker has since been identified and arrested.
Us Weekly confirmed on Wednesday, May 4, that Isaiah Lee was taken into the custody of the Los Angeles Police Department hours earlier on an assault with a deadly weapon charge after he lunged at the comedian the night before. Lee, 23, is being held on a $30,000 bail.
The Chappelle’s Show alum, 48, was performing at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, May 3, when Lee ran from his spot in the crowd up on the stage. According to social media footage from the event, Chappelle appeared to have been pushed onto the ground. While Lee attempted to flee the stage several moments later, he was detained by security guards and the You’ve Got Mail actor’s team.
Chappelle was tapped to headline a “Dave Chappelle and Friends” special earlier this month as part of the Netflix Is a Joke festival. Per a description on the event website, it was meant to be a “phone-free experience.” While guests remained in possession of their smartphones, devices were to be secured in individual, sealed pouches provided by the venue for the duration of the show.
The A Star Is Born actor’s set comes nearly one year after he caught flak for making controversial jokes in his The Closer special for Netflix. Many believed his remarks were transphobic, which lead several employees of the streaming platform to stage a walkout in October 2021.
“When we think about this challenge we have to entertain the world,” Netflix’s CEO Ted Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, defending the decision to air the special. “Part of that challenge means that you’ve got audiences with various taste, various sensibilities, various beliefs. You really can’t please everybody or the content would be pretty dull.”
During his Tuesday set, Chappelle allegedly referred to Lee as a “trans man,” according to multiple reports, shortly after Lee was removed from the venue. The Hollywood Bowl performance also included several famous faces in the audience. Both Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock — the latter of whom made headlines two months prior when he was slapped by Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars — were spotted at the show.
The South Carolina native, 57, took the stage shortly after the incident and joked, “Was that Will Smith?” (While Rock presented the Best Documentary Feature trophy at the Academy Awards in March, he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. As a result, the King Richard star walked on stage and slapped him before apologizing one day later.)
Both Rock and the Ray star, 54, shared their support for Chappelle during the show.
“I thought that was part of the show, I didn’t know what the f–k [happened],” Foxx said during the curtain call according to Twitter footage. “Listen, I just want to say, this man is an absolute genius. We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times. For every comedian who comes out here, this means everything. You’re a genius. You’re a legend, I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and we’re not going to let nothing happen to you.”
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