Dave Chappelle Fans Walk Out After Comments On Israel

Dave Chappelle, the once-relevant comedian whose recent-years remarks on women, trans folks, and those he derisively refers to as “the alphabet people” has made him far less so, appears to have found some new people to alienate. At a show at Boston’s TD Garden, the 50-year-old reportedly criticized Israel’s bombing of Gaza and U.S. support of the effort.

It all began when Chappelle said that students who expressed support for Palestine should not be denied job offers (unaware, perhaps, that most GOP candidates for president want to do far more than that). According to the Wall Street Journal, a heckler at the show told him to shut up, which spurred Chappelle to expand on his opinions about the war.

After condemning the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in which over 1000 Israelis died, Chappelle “accused Israel of killing innocent civilians and committing war crimes,” Page Six reports. He “also said the US was guilty of aiding the slaughter of innocent civilians,” according to Deadline.

Audience reaction was mixed, with some applauding and calling “free Palestine,” while others walked out of the show, according to the WSJ.

“The audience was cheering Chappelle on during his tirade. I was sick. We were sick. I turned to my friends and wife and said, I think it is time to go,” the Daily Mail quotes an audience member saying via social media. “We walked out and met up with many other Jews leaving the show. Never in my life have I felt so unsafe and so fearful of what I was witnessing.” Oddly enough, a spokesperson for the comedian told the WSJ that he “denies being in Boston” for the show in question, which was widely advertised and displays no indications that it was canceled.

Chappelle isn’t the only performer who faces conflict over their remarks on the war. Since Madonna kicked her Celebration World Tour off last week, she’s reportedly had to beef up security after calling for peace from the stage. 

“What’s happening right now between Israel and Palestine, obviously is heartbreaking, and nobody wants to see what’s happening,” the Daily Mail quotes her as saying. “I see children being thrown off motorcycles, kidnapped, babies being decapitated, children at peace raves being shot and killed, what the fuck is going on in the world?”

Those comments were enough to inspire a fierce social media backlash that accused her of being pro-Israel and cited her aughts-era interest in Jewish mysticism. A friend of the musician told the paper that Madonna was “devastated and appalled,” as she’d made every effort not to take sides, and an unnamed “senior music industry figure” involved with the tour tells the Mail that security has been “stepped up and bolstered” as the online attacks continued.

Given the fierce opposition both artists face, one can certainly see why the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has officially decided to remain silent on the matter. “In the past week, some members have requested that the Guild take a public stand on events in the Middle East,” West Coast president Meredith Stiehm told a group of members via a Saturday message reported by Deadline.

“Equally, many members have asked us to refrain from making any statement,” the memo said. “Like the membership itself, the Board’s viewpoints are varied, and we found consensus out of reach. For these reasons, we have decided not to comment publicly.”

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