In his new Netflix special The Bird Revelation, comedian Dave Chappelle said Louis C.K. accusers who claimed the comic’s alleged sexual misconduct kept them from pursuing a career in comedy are “weak” and mocked Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Charlie Rose for their purported behavior. “Charlie Rose! Who’s next? Captain Kangaroo,” Chappelle said.
But, he said, “Louis was like the turning point. All these allegations were terrible — I shouldn’t say this — but his allegations were the only ones that made me laugh. When you think about it, he’s jerking off — he’s surprising people. … I picture all the comics in comedy reading it like, ‘Word!’ It’s terrible, I’m sorry ladies, you’re right. At the same time, Jesus Christ, they took everything from Louis. It might be disproportionate, I can’t tell. This is where it’s hard to be man.”
Back in November, the New York Times published an exposé alleging Louis C.K. masturbated in front of women without consent. Louis C.K. admitted to the wrongdoing in a statement issued soon after. Said Louis C.K., “These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions.” The acclaimed comic was later cut loose by FX, which aired his popular series, as well as Netflix, which dropped plans to produce another Louis C.K. comedy special. (The streaming service still has past Louis C.K. performances available to members.)
In the New York Times story, one woman, Abby Schachner, said Louis C.K. masturbated while on the phone with her in 2003, without Schachner’s prior consent. Louis C.K. later apologized, Schachner said, but according to the New York Times, it “was one of the things that discouraged her from pursuing comedy.”
Chappelle didn’t mention Schachner by name in The Bird Revelation — which debuted on New Year’s Eve but was filmed at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles on Nov. 20 — but did comment on whether he felt Louis C.K.’s behavior could have played a part in keeping someone out of comedy.
“One lady said, ‘Louis C.K. masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams,'” he said. “Word? Well, then I dare say, madam, you may have never had a dream. Come on man, that’s a brittle spirit. That is a brittle-ass spirit, that is too much, this grown-ass woman.”
He added, “You think if Louis C.K. jerked off in front of Dr. [Martin Luther] King, he’d be like, ‘I can’t continue this movement? I’m sorry, but the freedom of black people must be stopped. I didn’t know this n—- was going to pull his dick out and jerk off like this. I thought we were going to get a couple of drinks and chill.’ Show business is just harder than that — them women sounded like, I hate to say it, they sounded weak. I know it sounds f—ed up and I’m not supposed to say that, but one of these ladies was like, ‘Louis C.K. was masturbating while I was on the phone with him.’ Bitch, you don’t know how to hang up the phone? How the hell are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams? I know Louis is wrong, I’m just saying, I’m held to a higher standard of accountability than these women are.”
Before launching into the Louis C.K. material, Chappelle opened The Bird Revelation with jokes about Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault by more than 70 women. (Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.)
“I’ve got to tell you, Harvey Weinstein is probably the first person that I’ve ever looked at a photograph of and said, ‘Yeah, he rapes,'” Chappelle said. “I’m not sure this motherf—er has a choice. Not a handsome man. A lot of meat and extra skin on his face. He’s ugly. The sad part is, he’s done so well in life, he probably doesn’t know he’s ugly. When you’re good-looking, everybody will tell you. … when you’re ugly, you’ve got to figure that sh– out for yourself.”
Chappelle added, “If it was Brad Pitt doing that sh–, you wouldn’t have heard a peep. The girl would just come back down, like, ‘I got the part.’ Yuck! Yet, it is important that I acknowledge, ladies, you are absolutely right.”
In a statement released previously, representatives for Weinstein said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
Later in the special, Chappelle said the entertainment industry can learn from how South Africa handled the end of apartheid as it looks to rebuild after the sexual misconduct allegations that dominated headlines during the last three months of 2017.
“What this city really needs, without irony, I’ll say this: the cure for L.A. is in South Africa. You motherf—ers need truth and reconciliation with one another,” Chappelle said. “The end of apartheid should have been a f—ing bloodbath by any metric in human history, and it wasn’t. The only reason it wasn’t is because Desmond Tutu and [Nelson] Mandela and all these guys figured out that if a system is corrupt, then the people who adhere to the system, and are incentivized by that system, are not criminals. They are victims. The system itself must be tried. But because of how the system works, it’s so compartmentalized as far as information, the only way we can figure out what the system is, is if everyone says what they did. Tell them how you participated.”
He continued, “Because men want to help, they’re just scared. Ben Affleck tried to help. ‘Hey, what happened to these ladies is disgusting.’ ‘Oh, n—-, you grabbed a titty in ’95.’ ‘All right, fellas, I’m out. F— that, I ain’t helping.’ I just want to help. I want to be a good guy.”
The Bird Revelation is on Netflix now.