Dave Chappelle raising money for DC high school amid controversy
WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Controversial comedian and DMV native Dave Chappelle is looking to turn outrage over his recent Netflix special into donations for a D.C. high school that wants to name a theater after him.
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Chappelle is one of the most famous alumni of The Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts with his name already immortalized on a historical marker outside the school.
Lately, however, Chappelle has been known for controversy rather than comedy after his Netflix special "The Closer" sparked anger for jokes comparing life experiences of African Americans with transgender and gay people.
This weekend, Chappelle posted an Instagram tribute to his alma mater, showing a 2017 picture of him with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser presenting a key to the city to Chappelle on The Duke Ellington High School stage.
READ MORE: DC mayor defends Chappelle as a ‘genius’ in wake of trans-phobic allegations
He also posted a link to the school's fundraising page, urging both his supporters and his critics to donate.
"I’ve watched a couple of his Netflix shows and they were great. I think a joke’s a joke and he’s harmless," says one FOX 5 viewer. "He’s not meaning to hurt anybody and if that’s what the school had plans to do I think they should continue."
READ MORE: Trans Netflix employees who criticized Dave Chapelle special drop labor complaint
"I think it’s important to have a little discussion here about it," another viewer said. "I personally saw that speech he made for Jay Z at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and I know some people had an issue with it."
School officials declined to be interviewed but posted a statement confirming Chappelle did visit the school before Thanksgiving.
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The statement denied reports that the meeting went poorly, expressed appreciation for the fundraiser and said they stand by their decision to name their theater after Chappelle.