Comedian Dave Chappelle‘s controversial Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, has taken heat for its jokes on topics like Michael Jackson‘s alleged sexual abuse, the LGBTQ+ community, and Jussie Smollett. As The Inquisitr reported, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg touched on comedy such as Chappelle’s in a recent interview with Peter Hamby on Snapchat’s show Good Luck America, and suggested that comedy that is “harmful” or “hurtful” should be “turned off.”
Despite some backlash, Chappelle doesn’t seem to be phased. While accepting Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, he spoke in defense of freedom of speech on the red carpet, Fox News reports.
“Political correctness has its place,” he said. “We all want to live in a polite society, we just kind of have to work on the levels of coming to an agreement of what that actually looks like
According to Chappelle, he’s “not afraid” of other people exercising their right to freedom of expression.
“I don’t use it as a weapon. It just makes me feel better. And I’m sorry if I hurt anybody,” he said. “Yada, yada, ‘everything I’m supposed to say.”
During the event — set to air on PBS on January 6, 2020 — Chappelle was honored by Chappelle Show co-creator Neal Brennan, as well as comedians Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari, Jon Stewart, and actor and director Bradley Cooper. In addition to defending free speech, Chappelle reportedly did the same for his right to smoke a cigarette indoors and sparked a cigarette on stage before asking “everyone in America” to look at him.
“I didn’t ask anybody… What are they gonna do? Kick me out before I get the prize?”
WHEREAS, on October 27, 2019, Dave Chappelle is being honored by the Kennedy Center as the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor; I hereby proclaim October 27, 2019 in Washington, DC, as “DAVE CHAPPELLE DAY”. pic.twitter.com/KXxEwjj1ua
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) October 27, 2019
Chappelle took particularly sharp criticism from some for his revelation in Sticks & Stones that he doesn’t believe Jackson’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that the King of Pop molested them as children in the documentary Leaving Neverland. Although the film’s director, Dan Reed, admitted that some people would find Chappelle’s special funny and didn’t want to become part of “cancel culture,” he nevertheless blasted the comedian’s comments and said they made him feel “physically sick.”
Others join Chappelle in their skepticism of Robson and Safechuck’s accusations, including Jackson’s former bodyguard, Matt Fiddes, who participated in the documentary Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth, which seeks to discredit Reed’s film and all those involved.
Other public figures who have publicly supported Jackson include singer Akon, comedian Godfrey, and actor Jason Weaver.