Patton Oswalt defends, apologizes for New Year’s Eve photo with Dave Chappelle
Comedian Patton Oswalt has simultaneously apologized and defended his decision to post a photo of himself and longtime friend Dave Chappelle despite the ongoing debate over Chappelle’s views on transgender rights and identity.
On Saturday, Oswalt posted several photos on Twitter and Instagram of him and Chapelle from New Year’s Eve. On Instagram, he wrote that he ended a set in Seattle when he received a text message from Chappelle.
Oswalt wrote, “Come to the arena performing next door and do a guest set. Why not? I waved goodbye to this hell year with a genius that started comedy with 34 years ago.” “He works in the yard as if he’s talking to one person and charms his skin. Anyway, I ended the year with a true friend and a deep laugh. I couldn’t ask for more.”
On Instagram, many comments left are from fans of comedians. Oswalt later admitted that he deleted the negative comments.
On Twitter, the comments were more critical. One person wrote, “As a trans person and a lover of your work, this is very frustrating. You’ve been open about your journey toward more sentimental comedy, so I ask you: Please consider how this makes your trans fans feel.” .
Chappelle faced a backlash in October after the appearance of his own film on Netflix “The Closer,” which critics said is a transphobic and harmful to transgender communities.
The controversy sparked a departure from the streaming company and prompted Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos to say “I screwed up” when it came to reaching out to employees hurt by Chappelle’s words. The special is still available to stream on Netflix.
Chappelle later said he would be willing to meet with transgender employees at Netflix who demanded the streaming platform remove the special, but added that the meeting had to be on its terms. He said, “You won’t call me.”
Oswalt posted a long response on Instagram with a photo of him writing on a notebook.
“I saw a friend that I haven’t seen in a long time on New Years Eve. We’ve known each other since we were teens. He’s a comedian, and he’s the funniest thing I’ve ever met. I wanted to post a picture and an IG story about it — so I did. The friend is Dave Chappelle. , “
Oswalt reiterated his admiration for Chappelle and said the two had been friends for 34 years.
He refocused and refined ideas, Oswalt wrote, as many of us settled on race, history, and life on planet Earth and rounded them out with a phrase or sentence.
“But we also disagree 100% on the rights and representation of transgender people,” he said. “I support transgender rights – the rights of anyone – to live safely in the world to the fullest.” “For all the things he helped me develop, I will always disagree with his position now on transgender issues.”
Oswalt added that he did not believe Chappelle had finished learning, calling his friend a “researcher”. He also wrote that he wondered if he had caused friends he had cut off due to disagreements “deepening their heels, feeding their ignorance out of resentment and hatred.”
“I’m sorry, really sorry,” Oswalt said, “that I didn’t think about the harm this might cause. Or the depth of that harm.”
He also said that he “(naively) deleted a lot of posts in the comment thread,” saying he “wanted a ‘cute comment thread’ about the photo with my boyfriend.”
Oswalt concluded, “Oh. It’s so easy to think that someone else needs to grow and miss you. I’ll keep trying.”
Neither Oswalt nor Chappelle responded to NBC News’ requests for comment on Monday.
Diana Dasrat contributed.
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