In Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special 8:46 — which was posted to the Netflix Is A Joke YouTube channel in the early morning hours on Friday — he addresses the death of George Floyd. But he also criticizes some of the media reaction to it, including that of CNN anchor Don Lemon.
The title of the special is the length of time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, a moment that was captured on video.
“When I watched that tape, I understood this man knew he was going to die,” Chappelle said. “People watched it. People filmed it. And for some reason that I still don’t understand, all these f*cking police had their hands in their pockets. Who are you talking to? What are you signifying? That you can kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds and feel like you wouldn’t get the wrath of God? That is what is happening right now. It’s not for a single cop. It’s for all of it. F*ck all of it. I don’t mean to get heavy but we gotta say something.”
Chappelle, who taped the performance on June 6 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, near his home, took issue with Lemon’s call for black Hollywood celebrities to speak out.
“I’m watching Don Lemon, that hotbed of reality,” Chappelle said. “He says, where are all these celebrities? Why aren’t you all talking?
Then Chappelle said, “Does it matter about celebrity? No. This is the streets talking for themselves. They don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut and I will still keep my mouth shut.”
Lemon responded to Chappelle on CNN’s New Day, at first saying that he agrees in some respects with the comedian’s point.
“I think that the young people who are out there in the streets don’t really care what we have to say,” Lemon said. “They think that part of the world that we created and what we did, maybe we didn’t move fast enough and maybe we weren’t strong enough. So they are out there fighting and said, ‘Listen, we are tired of what is happening. We tried to do it nicely and we tried to do it peacefully and we have tried to do all these things and you rejected it.’ They are not only speaking to white people in this country but all of us in the establishment. So I agree with him in that way.”
Lemon added, “But I do think that this is not a moment for modesty. I think that this is a moment that we should all be using our platform to do whatever we can, and at least to show young people and those out there that we support them, and it doesn’t mean taking all of the credit for it or speaking out for them. I think they can do that on their own. …But I think they need to know that people like Dave Chappelle or people like me or whoever supports them. And that’s all they need to know.”
Lemon also said that there was some irony that Chappelle’s special is called 8:46 and that “he is using this platform to talk about this.”
“We should all be challenged,” Lemon said, adding that their different point of view on whether celebrities should speak out is “a moment where we have two men of color, who have two big platforms, we are agreeing or disagreeing with each other and having a discussion, and people are actually paying attention.”
Chappelle was considerably tougher on conservative pundits Candace Owens, who has criticized the black community for calling Floyd a martyr, and Laura Ingraham for her comments that LeBron James should “shut up and dribble.”
Chappelle said of Owens: “That rotten b***h, she’s the worst. I can’t think of a worse way to make money. She’s the most articulate idiot I’ve ever seen in my f***ing life.”
Owens took Chappelle’s comments in stride. “To every Democrat tweeting me the clip of #DaveChappelle insulting me: I’m not a leftist,” Owens said in a tweet Friday. “I have a sense of humor & I think comedians SHOULD make fun of people.”
She added: “Dave Chappelle is one of the greatest comedians of all time and I made it into one of his specials. That’s POWER!”
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