Wands Sykes had some stern words for her longtime friend Dave Chappelle over his jokes about the transgender community in his Netflix special.
Calling the jokes “hurtful and damaging,” Sykes tore apart the comic’s polarizing comments in his Grammy-winning Netflix stand-up special “The Closer.”
In the 2021 special, Chappelle said he “agrees” that “gender is a fact”, as he discussed how J.K. Rowling had been branded a “TERF” (Trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
When asked if her new Netflix special in which she defended the transgender community “balanced out” Chappelle’s set, Sykes told Variety, “Um, I don’t know about balancing it out, because I think what he said was so hurtful and damaging to the trans community.
“So yeah, the scale is still tipped, I will say, in their favor. But I know I wanted to say something, because so much has been said on that platform. I definitely want to [say] something on the other side of it.”
Despite the pair’s friendship going “way back,” Sykes admits she hasn’t spoken to Chappelle about his controversial stand-up gig.
“I mean, it’s not intentional – you know, I still love the guy. But I haven’t had a chance to talk to him. If our paths did cross, I totally would say something,” she told the outlet.
And when asked how she feels about being called a “woke comic,” Sykes said, “That’s fine. That’s great. What makes me laugh is that they say that like it’s an insult: ‘Oh, they’re woke.’ Thank you.”
“It’s not an insult at all. I mean, George Carlin, he was woke. Richard Pryor, woke. Bill Hicks, woke. It’s almost like they’re angry that we’re evolving. It’s sad, really,” she added.
Chappelle’s special sparked mass backlash, staff resignations, and employee protests and walkouts at Netflix.
“Any of you who have ever watched me know that I have never had a problem with transgender people,” he said in “The Closer.” “If you listen to what I’m saying, clearly, my problem has always been with white people.”
“They canceled J.K. Rowling. My god,” he told the crowd. “Effectually she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as s–t, they started calling her a Terf.”
“I’m Team TERF. I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact,” he added.
The “Half-Baked” actor claimed he does not have any issue with the trans community, nor does he think “trans women aren’t women.”
Despite the backlash, Chappelle said he won’t be “bending to anybody’s demands.”
“To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anyone’s demands,” Chappelle said in 2021.