DC mayor defends Chappelle as a ‘genius’ in wake of trans-phobic allegations

Controversy has once again surrounded iconic comedian and Silver Spring native Dave Chappelle – this time for alleged trans-phobic jokes he made on a Netflix special.

But D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser maintains that Chappelle – who often celebrates his DMV roost – is a "genius" – going so far as to repeat her praise on Thursday and insist that he remains her friend.

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In general, the mayor says she wants to make sure D.C. is a city that does not accept transphobia.

When it comes to Chappelle specifically, she made it clear she’s standing by him, even if she doesn’t agree with everything he says or how he says it.

In 2017, Bowser awarded Chappelle – a Duke Ellington High School alum – a key to the city. And the mayor says she won’t recall that honor despite Chappelle’s comments about trans people.

"I think we should all be united, and I think Dave would be too in making sure we’re a city that doesn’t accept trans-phobia, or trans-phobic violence and that is our deep concern in Washington, violence against trans-people," she said.

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Four years ago, Chappelle was added to the mural at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street, and just last week, D.C. public schools announced they’re naming the stage at Duke Ellington High School after Chappelle.

Bowser says she has not yet had a conversation with Chappelle about his controversial comments. 

"Dave has been having this conversation with the trans community for a long time. But you would be, and I don’t think you would understand the whole show, I’m not sure you’ve seen it if you didn’t also understand some of his other commentary about race," Bowser said. 

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Some gay rights organizations, like the Human Rights Campaign, are blasting Netflix for keeping the Chappelle special on its platform, telling FOX 5:

"This commentary causes real harm to trans-people who face record levels of violence and discriminatory legislation."

The DC school district has not responded to requests for comment.