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Dave Chapelle in Netflix’s Sticks and Stones.

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Matthieu Bitton
Dave Chappelle on Sunday took home the 2020 Grammy compensation for ideal Comedy Album, over other nominees including Ellen DeGeneres and Trevor Noah. But not everyone is celebrate the win, which nets Chappelle his third Grammy in the category in 3 years.

That’s due to the fact that Sticks and also Stones, the album version of his 2019 Netflix comedy special, challenges its audience right from the title. And though it suggests that Chappelle will brush off criticism prior to the special even begins, it has actually sparked controversy over the borders of shock humor, publication culture, left-wing politics rhetoric, and Chappelle himself.

The one-hour show has a surprise Q&A conference (accessible just after watching through the finish credits that the special) and is themed about Chappelle’s reaction come what the calls “celebrity searching season.” as a component of his discussion that culture has unable to do too much in naming and also shaming those with offensive pasts, the comedy legend takes aim at everyone from queer and also transgender activists and also the #MeToo motion to movie critics of R. Kelly, Kevin Hart, and Louis C.K. In the many high-profile attack, the mocks the men who accused Michael Jackson of boy sex abuse in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland — which he calls “gross” and also urges his audience no to watch.

The distinct has divided Chappelle’s fans and also peers, through some influential voices rushing to Chappelle’s defense together others express your reservations around the borders of comedy that targets the vulnerable. The conflict over his incendiary humor has actually played out before, but the topical relevancy of Chappelle’s latest Netflix special provides it specifically tricky — perhaps an ext than usual.

In Sticks and Stones, Chappelle flatly disbelieves, and also then mocks, Michael Jackson’s accusers

“I’m gonna to speak something the I’m not permitted to say,” Chappelle says onstage relatively early right into his set, which was filmed in Atlanta. From that setup, Chappelle launches into a bit about being a “victim blamer,” and also states that he doesn’t believe the molestation allegations against Jackson. With a grand pause, Chappelle declares, “Even if the did perform it ... You recognize what ns mean?” it’s unclear, however, what specifically Chappelle does mean here. Is the joke supposed to be the Michael Jackson’s stature makes his habits okay? Is the joke the his habits doesn’t readjust his status as a popular music legend? something else? He eventually concludes, after letting the audience fill in their very own ideas, “It’s Michael Jackson!”

The Michael Jackson regime is a variant of one Chappelle has performed before, as early as 2004. In that version, the goes additional with the joke, saying that the youngsters probably enjoyed the experience and should have felt empowered by it since of Jackson’s stature. In the brand-new special, Chappelle goes also further: “I know an ext than half the human being in this room have been molested in their lives, however it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, to be it?” the says. “This kid gained his cock sucked through the king of pop. Every we obtain is aer Thanksgivings because that the rest of ours lives.”

“I know it’s harsh,” the says, “but somebody’s gotta teach these kids there’s no such point as a totally free trip to Hawaii,” to express the regular trips and also other perks the Jackson offered his accusers, walking Robson and James Safechuck, together children.

In statements come TMZ on august 27, both Robson and also Safechuck comment to Chappelle’s routine. “I’m upper heart for all those kids who look to see just how they will certainly be received when they finally discover the courage to speak out about their sexual abuse,” Safechuck said. “I simply want come reach out to other survivors and also let them know that we can’t allow this type of habits silence us. Together we are strong.”

Robson’s lawyer included that “it’s unfortunate the has chosen to usage his communication to shame sexual abuse victims, and also spread his ignorance of sexual abuse and also the way it is perpetrated ~ above children.” he contrasted Chappelle’s comedy through that of Hannibal Buress, who supplied his platform to contact out bill Cosby’s long background of abuse rather of shaming victims.

But Chappelle had an ext on his mind than Jackson. He built his collection around a number of other recent controversies, including R. Kelly’s alleged history of sexual grooming and abuse that young women, and also Kevin Hart’s withdrawal from hosting the 2019 Oscars. Yet whether that framed those events fairly or not in order come mine them because that comedy has become a controversial talking point.

Chappelle criticized Surviving R. Kelly director Dream Hampton in the special, yet came in for criticism himself

Throughout the special, Chappelle cites the media’s response to Kelly, Hart, and Jackson as instances of “overreactions.” though he contrasted Jackson with R. Kelly by declare Kelly “probably did” what he to be accused of, he concentrated his program on the recent documentary Surviving R. Kelly, a look into the major abuse allegedly cursed by the singer. Discussing exactly how Surviving R. Kelly’s director Dream Hampton name-dropped the in several interviews together someone who refused to show up in the documentary, Chappelle portrayed her request together random and odd. “I don’t know at all ... Ns don’t recognize anything that they don’t tell me about him,” he said.

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But Hampton’s reason for wanting Chappelle to appear in the documentary was due to Chappelle’s long background of joke made about R. Kelly in the past, including a sketch from his Comedy central series Chappelle’s Show in 2003 that mocked R. Kelly’s sex tape. As soon as TMZ confronted him about his ahead R. Kelly comedy previously this year, Chappelle responded the he’d have to rewatch the skit to be able to comment on it.

Hampton responded to Chappelle’s distinct on Tuesday by speak she never ever actually discussed the documentary with him in ~ all.