After Dave Chappelle was knocked down during a performance at the Netflix Is a Joke festival, the identity of the attacker was identified and arrested.
Lee, 23, is being held on $30,000 bail.
The 48-year-old graduate of Chappelle’s Show was performing at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, May 3, when Lee ran out of his seat in the crowd onto the stage. According to social media footage from the scene, Chappelle appears to have been knocked to the ground. When Lee tried to leave the stage moments later, he was detained by security guards and the cast of You’ve Got Mail.
Earlier this month, Chappelle was named the headliner of a special edition of “Dave Chappelle and Friends” as part of the Netflix Is a Joke festival. According to the description on the event’s website, it was supposed to be “an experience without a phone.” While the guests stayed with their smartphones, the devices had to be stored in individual sealed bags provided by the institution for the duration of the show.
The set of the “A Star is Born” actor comes almost a year after he was roundly criticized for controversial jokes in his The Closer special for Netflix. Many considered his statements transphobic, which led to a strike by several employees of the streaming platform in October 2021.
“When we think about this task, we have to entertain the world,” Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, defending the decision to air the special. “Part of this problem means that you have viewers with different tastes, different feelings, different beliefs. You really can’t please everyone, otherwise the content will be pretty boring.”
According to multiple reports, during his speech on Tuesday, Chappelle called Lee a “trans man” shortly after Lee was removed from the audience. Several famous viewers also took part in the Hollywood Bowl performance. Both Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock were seen on the show, the latter of whom made headlines two months before Will Smith slapped him at the 2022 Oscars ceremony.
The 57-year-old South Carolina native took to the stage shortly after the incident and joked: “Was that Will Smith?” (While Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards in March, he joked about Jada Pinkett Smith. As a result, the “King Richard” star came on stage and punched him before apologizing a day later.)
Both Rock and Ray’s 54-year-old star shared their support for Chappelle during the show.
“I thought it was part of the show, I didn’t know what the hell [happened],” Fox said during the performance, according to footage on Twitter. “Look, I just want to say that this man is an absolute genius. We have to make sure we always protect him. For every comedian who comes out here, it means everything. You’re a genius. You’re a legend, I’ve had a lot of fun, and we won’t let anything happen to you.”
Scroll below to learn more about the incident:
During Chappell’s stand-up concert in Los Angeles, one of the audience ran onto the stage and crashed into a native of Washington, D.C., knocking him down.
Who attacked the comedian?
We have confirmed that a 23-year-old man has been charged with assaulting Chappelle.
Was he armed?
Los Angeles police said the suspect was armed with an exact replica of a pistol that could throw out a knife blade, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Has he been arrested?
We confirmed that Lee was arrested on Wednesday, a few hours after the incident. He is being held on bail of 30 thousand dollars.
Has anyone been hurt?
Although neither Chappelle nor the security staff at the scene were injured, Lee was taken to a local hospital and treated for “superficial injuries,” NBC Los Angeles reported.
Did Chapelle answer?
A representative for the comedian told us in a statement that Chappelle “refuses to let [the] incident overshadow the magic of this historic moment,” adding that the Chappelle Show alum “continued the show” despite the “unfortunate and disturbing” attack.