Dave Chappelle’s stand-up show was cancelled by a Minnesota venue on Wednesday amid the ongoing backlash over his jokes about the transgender community.
The comedian was due to perform at the First Avenue music venue in Minneapolis on Wednesday night, but the representatives announced hours before the event that it had been cancelled at their location and would take place at the Varsity Theater.
In their statement, they addressed the social media backlash they had received after announcing Chappelle’s show amid the controversy surrounding comments he made about the transgender community in his Netflix special The Closer last year.
“To staff, artists and our community, we hear you and we are sorry. We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls,” the statement reads. “The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission. We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have.”
The Varsity Theater will also host Chappelle’s show on 21 and 22 July.
As a result of the controversy, Chappelle stopped his former school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C., from naming its theatre after him because he didn’t want the furore to distract from their work.
At the dedication ceremony for the venue, now called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression, in June, he told the audience he thought the backlash against him lacked nuance and wasn’t about his work, but confessed the criticism “sincerely” hurt him.