Dave Chappelle’s Former High School Theater Will Not Be Named After Him Following Criticism about Transgenders

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In an announcement on Monday night, Dave Chappelle said the student theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. will not bear his name, following a change of name to the theater. 

According to a Washington Post report, Chappelle made the announcement during an appearance at a dedication ceremony, where he revealed the theater in question will be named the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. During the process fo the name change, a discussion came about surround Chappelle’s Netflix special ‘The Closer’ which many called out for being transphobic, including students at Duke Ellington. 

On Monday, Chappelle addressed the criticism, claiming ‘The Closer’ was reported on without “artistic nuance” and comparing the special’s criticism tot he defacement of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting, according to a Washington Post columnist and CNN analyst Josh Rogin. 

In a statement shared last November in response to what the Duke Ellington School of the Arts said were “inaccurate” viral stories that were “devoid of contect” a school rep said it was aiming to turning the larger debate into a teachable moment for its students. 

“Our purpose is not to form a uniformity of viewpoints, but to help instill genuine, respectful curiosity in perspectives that challenge one’s own,” the school said. “The debates amond some Ellington students largely mirror those that exist across Washington, D.C., and the country as a whole.”

Chappelle’s defenses of the material in questions are continuous, and the criticism has remained as well, including from several fellow comedians. Jerrod Carmichael, recently spoke with GQ Hype for an interview, where he expressed the disappointment this era of Chappelle has brought to some longtime fans. 

“Chappelle, do you know what comes up when you Google your name, bro? That’s the legacy?” Carmichael said. “Your legacy is a bunch of opinions on trans shit? It’s an odd hill to die on.”


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