March 22, 2018 / 2:08 AM

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Dave Chappelle Faces Criticism Over Transgender Jokes In 'Equanimity' From Former Fan


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Dave Chappelle may be a comedian, but he sure did not make one particular fan happy about his recent jokes on the LGBT community during his show Equanimity. The fan called his criticisms hateful and demeaning.

A former fan named Tyler Foster aired out his grievances against Chappelle in a lengthy post where he called out the comedian for his hurtful words against the transgender community. Foster referenced his first-person article to the letter he wrote Chappelle in March 2016 after he saw the comedian's first of four shows at the Neptune Theater in Seattle, Washington.

Foster wrote a letter in response to a joke Chappelle made about Caitlyn Jenner and how his coming out damaged his memories of the former athlete. He also made some snide remarks about transgender people.

"Chappelle trashed the notion that trans people experienced similar or worse types of discrimination as the black community," Foster wrote in a Medium post.

The fan recalled that during the segment, Chappelle used the word "tranny" instead of "trans." Foster labeled the comedian's jokes about transgender people as "regressive, exclusionary, and cruel." Chappelle replied to Foster's letter and accepted his criticisms.

Flash forward to 2017 during Chappelle's recent Netflix special Equanimity, where Foster mentioned that the comedian referenced the letter in the segment. He had hoped that his criticisms would be an eye-opener to the comedian. Instead, the letter and its contents became a setup to more of his transgender jokes.

"Yet, the entire segment talking about the letter was, and remains, a long set up to more of his trans material. Weirdly, the rewrite makes the bit even more dismissive, ignoring a complaint ostensibly from someone directly affected by the material rather than a bystander like myself," Foster added.

Foster noted that Chappelle's jokes about transgender people "has only gotten more hateful across the board." Equanimity was no different since he referred to Jenner again with an emphatic "yuck." He also referenced the letter as coming from a white trans person, neither of which Foster is.

Foster closed his post with a reminder that a comedian's goal is not just to make people laugh. What they say also matters.

A review from the Guardian on Equanimity echoes Foster's sentiments that what Chappelle says on the stage matters to people. In comedy, there are also aftereffects. What a comedian says or jokes about can start a dialogue, draw criticisms or complaints, or challenge people. In Foster's case, Chappelle personally attacked the former fan when he used the letter to set up his comedy segment about transgender people.

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