Suspect in onstage Dave Chappelle attack says show was ‘triggering’
The man charged with attacking Dave Chappelle while he was performing onstage earlier this month said the comedian’s show at the Hollywood Bowl in California was “triggering.”
Isaiah Lee, who is charged with assault with a deadly weapon after he tackled Chappelle while holding a replica gun that could eject a blade, told The New York Post in an exclusive interview that he was triggered by the comedian’s jokes about the LGBTQ community and homelessness.
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee told journalists from his cell at Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
Lee, 23, said he is a single father who has experienced homelessness before and that Chappelle’s jokes went too far that night.
“It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke,” he told the Post.
Lee allegedly tackled Chappelle at the beginning of May at the Hollywood Bowl during the comedian’s performance for the “Netflix is a Joke” festival. Security officers quickly detained Lee and, he says, broke his arm and gave him black eyes.
A day after the event, a judge ordered Lee to be held on a $30,000 bail.
Lee told The New York Post he did have a replica handgun when he tackled Chappelle, but the weapon was not pulled out when he rushed the stage. He says he did not want to harm Chappelle, and he also spoke to the outlet about a history of sexual abuse.
Lee, an aspiring rapper under the name of “noname_trapper” who once released a song called “Dave Chapell,” is also facing separate charges for the attempted murder of a roommate in Los Angeles in December, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
The Chappelle incident occurred not long after actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage during the Academy Awards in April, spurring calls to protect against violence against comedians.
Chappelle has been criticized for his jokes about LGBTQ individuals, and particularly the transgender, community, which reached a crescendo when he released his Netflix special “The Closer” last fall.
Lee said in the new interview that Chappelle asked to speak with him backstage after the incident.
“I told him my mother and grandmother, who fought for his civil rights to be able to speak, would be upset at the things he said,” Lee said.
According to Lee, Chappelle answered: “Now your story will die with you, son.”
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