Dave Chappelle visited his former high school earlier this week.
Andrew Wilson, a student in attendance, said Chappelle’s visit was “a grotesque display of ego and narcissism.”
During the visit, Chappelle was criticized for his comments about the trans community in his Netflix special.
Dave Chappelle’s recent appearance at his former high school was a “grotesque” display of “ego and narcissism,” a student who was in attendance told Insider.
Multiple media outlets reported that Chappelle made a surprise visit to his alma mater — the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC — on Tuesday to speak with students before Thanksgiving. The school had initially postponed plans for the comedian to appear at a school fundraiser after students threatened to organize a walkout over comments Chappelle made about trans people in his recent Netflix comedy special “The Closer.”
However, Allyson Finch Wilson, whose 16-year-old son Andrew Wilson attends Duke Ellington, said the parents of students at the school received an email on Tuesday afternoon informing them that “there would be a special assembly so kids would get let out 30 minutes later than normal.”
Andrew told Insider that students were instructed to place their cellphones in “pouches” as they approached the assembly hall. Shortly after, Dave Chappelle came out on stage and asked any students who were offended by him to raise their hands and approach the stage to voice their grievances.
“Two transgender people were in line and one transgender person was trying to explain and Dave Chappelle kept talking over him and blatantly disrespecting the fact that he was talking and trying to make a joke out of the situation,” Andrew told Insider.
“And then the second transgender person tried to explain to Dave Chappelle what misgendering was and Dave Chappelle interrupted her and completely ignored that. And then moved on to the next person.”
Misgendering is the act of referring to a person with a gender that does not match their gender identity.
‘It was just a grotesque display of ego and narcissism’
Andrew added that at the end of the evening, Chappelle proceeded to tell the students: “I am better at what I do than all of you in this room combined.”
“It was just a grotesque display of ego and narcissism,” he told Insider.
Andrew later told Insider that throughout the evening, Chappelle — who appeared on stage with documentary film cameras — was reluctant to engage with the concerns of the students, but continually told the audience that they “can’t silence” him.
“He kept on saying, ‘You can’t silence me. How dare you try to silence me.’ Not one person in that room was trying to silence him at all,” Andrew said.
“One girl raised her hand and said ‘I understand what you’re saying and I respect your art, but you don’t understand how many transgender people die every day.’ And he interrupted her and said, ‘N—–s die every day.’
Representatives for Chappelle did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. However, Chappelle’s spokesperson Carla Sims provided a statement to the news site Politico, which initially reported that Chappelle had visited the school.
“He said these kids deserve an F for forgiveness,” Sims said of Chappelle’s response to the evening. “Give them some space to grow. They are going to say things that are immature.”
Andrew, who identifies as gay, told Insider that Chappelle’s appearance was “the most narcissistic display I have ever seen in my entire life” due to the comedian’s “attitude and ego.”
“You could just tell that he didn’t take that situation seriously and how he didn’t want to be there. That was definitely very clear in his action throughout the entire night,” Andrew said.
The event ended, he said, with the school’s principal coming out on stage with Chappelle “and they hugged and laughed. And then he brought Erykah Badu out.”
Allyson — who is also a Duke Ellington alum — added that the goal had never been to “cancel culture” Dave Chappelle who she said has been a “tremendous benefactor” to the school, but rather facilitating an environment where the students can engage with Chappelle without “such a wild power dynamic.”
Dave Chappelle has been a prominent supporter of Duke Ellington School of the Arts over the years, donating a total of $100,000 and giving the school one of his Emmy awards, according to Deadline. Chappelle also held a masterclass for students in 2017 featuring fellow actors Bradley Cooper and Chris Tucker.
The outcry over “The Closer” — the sixth stand-up special Chappelle has debuted on Netflix — has been widespread. In the special, Chappelle voiced support for the “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling, who has been criticized for anti-trans comments. During a monologue, Chappelle also said that “gender is a fact” and “every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth.”
Read the original article on Insider