Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special gets 96% user rating on Rotten Tomatoes – scores 43% among critics

Dave Chappelle’s controversial Netflix special The Closer has scored 96 per cent positive reviews from regular viewers on Rotten Tomatoes – but just 43 per cent from woke critics who’ve accused Chappelle of transphobia.

Rotten Tomatoes, which collates reviews from critics and regular viewers for movies and TV shows, has attracted more than 2,500 notices from normal people who’ve watched the special. Around 96 out of every 100 regular viewers have given it a near-perfect score. Many also wrote glowing reviews to accompany their ratings. 

Conversely, the seven professional critics’ reviews analyzed by Rotten Tomatoes average out at just 43/100, with many of the journalists behind those pieces openly hostile to Chappelle for his perceived bigotry towards transgender people. 

Journalists including cultural commentator Jesse Singal have noted the stark contrast, saying it suggests that woke-obsessed media elites are more out of touch with regular people than ever.

He shared a grab of the two Rotten Tomatoes scores, and captioned it: ‘Then, early in the 21st century, social scientists realized that many of these questions of class and education and culture and mass media could best be explained by what they came to call “The Chappelle Ratio”‘.   

The polarizing production has received rave reviews from viewers online, garnering a 96% user rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but scored just 43% with critics

One Twitter user, journalist Jesse Singal, joked about the stark difference in opinions between the two groups, equating the dissent to a division of social classes

One Twitter user, journalist Jesse Singal, joked about the stark difference in opinions between the two groups, equating the dissent to a division of social classes

Among the criticism of Chappelle from professional critics was the onslaught that came at the hands of Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic Ian Thomas Malone, who is transgender.

She wrote: ‘Dave Chappelle is the most successful comedian alive.

‘That notion might be lost on a viewer of his latest special The Closer,’ Malone went on to say in a scathing review.

She then labeled the special, ‘an hour that largely abandons the pretext of comedy in favor of a litany of grievances, many toward the LGBTQ community.’

The critic further declared that the comic, 48, puts a ‘special emphasis on his seemingly favorite punching bag, the transgender community’ – before scolding Chappelle for using the term ‘transgenders’ in his act instead and engaging in ‘rampant transphobia.’ 

Chappelle has faced furious backlash from the LGBTQ community and activists alike since the special's release last week, for remarks that some have deemed transphobic - and activists are clamoring for the title's removal

Chappelle has faced furious backlash from the LGBTQ community and activists alike since the special’s release last week, for remarks that some have deemed transphobic – and activists are clamoring for the title’s removal

Malone, a transgender woman in her thirties who bills herself as ‘an author, transgender activist, and yogi from Greenwich, CT’ – as well as a comedian and podcast host – went on to call The Closer and Chappelle ‘transphobic’ in the review.

Malone wrote The Transgender Manifesto, a ‘bestseller in LGBTQ non-fiction,’ in 2017, and her debut comedy album, Confessions From My New Vagina, was released last year.

Another critic, Kevin Fallon, a senior entertainment reporter for The Daily Beast, called the comedian’s new special ‘a panicked defense of controversial past jokes’ on Friday, adding, ‘The humor doesn’t land. Neither does the justification.’

Fallon’s colleague, Daily Beast Senior Entertainment Editor Marlow Stern, similarly slammed the special on the very same day.

He called Chappelles’ set in The Closer ‘incendiary, troubling, and unapologetic’ and said that many of the comic’s jokes in this special, as well as previous shows, were transphobic.

Roger Moore, who runs the film criticism website and podcast MovieNation, also bashed the closer in a review Sunday, stating that Chappelle’s insistence on making jokes at the expense of the transgender constitutes an ‘obsession,’ which the comic ‘keeps explaining over and over again.’ 

On IMDB, user ratings were also somewhat divided, but viewers for the most part applauded the special – with more than 40 percent of reviewers granting The Closer a perfect 10/10 score.

Nearly 50 percent of the remaining votes awarded the special a score of seven or higher.

Four percent gave the polarizing production a paltry 1 out of 10 – the sixth-most common score after 6 through 10.

The special garnered a respectable weighted average of 8.2 out of 10 – with nearly every age and gender demographic giving the special an average score of 8 or higher.

The only demographics to give The Closer an average rating of 7.9 or less were women in the 18-29 age range, as well as women aged 30-44, who handed the special a score of 7.8 and 7.9, respectively. 

On IMDB, ratings were also somewhat divided, but users for the most part applauded the special - with more than 40 percent of reviewers granting The Closer a perfect 10/10 score

On IMDB, ratings were also somewhat divided, but users for the most part applauded the special – with more than 40 percent of reviewers granting The Closer a perfect 10/10 score

The only demographics to give The Closer an average rating of 7.9 or less were women in the 18-29 age range, as well as women aged 30-44, who handed the special a score of 7.8 and 7.9, respectively.

The only demographics to give The Closer an average rating of 7.9 or less were women in the 18-29 age range, as well as women aged 30-44, who handed the special a score of 7.8 and 7.9, respectively.

Chappelle has faced furious backlash from the LGBTQ community and activists alike since the special’s release last week, for remarks that some have deemed transphobic – and activists are clamoring for the title’s removal from Netflix. 

He backed author JK Rowling over her comments on gender, said ‘gender is a fact’ and announced ‘I’m team TERF.’ TERF stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

The term is generally used by some trans people and their allies to attack others who disagree with some parts of their call for equality.

Hot button issues include whether trans women and girls should be allowed to compete against girls in some sports, whether trans women should be able to access certain spaces – including women’s prisons and domestic violence shelters – and whether children who believe themselves to be trans should be given hormones to delay the onset of puberty. 

Netlflix has continued to back Chappelle. The firm’s CEO Ted Sarandos said Chappelle’s special doesn’t cross ‘the line on hate’ and will remain on the streaming service despite the fallout over the his remarks about the transgender community.

In an internal memo, Sarandos said that Netflix execs did not believe that Chappelle’s work amounted to ‘hate,’ and that the company would not be removing the show despite pressure from artists.

He also noted Chappelle’s popularity and the importance of his specials to the success of the streaming service, noting that the company should ‘support’ the ‘creative freedoms’ of the comic.

‘Chapelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him. His last special ‘Sticks & Stones,’ also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest and most award-winning stand-up special to date,’ Sarandos wrote.

‘As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful,’ he said.

The CEO also told managers that ‘some talent’ – referring to Netflix employees – may join third parties in calling for the show’s removal. 

One such employee, software engineer Terra Field, tweeted last week that Chappelle’s special ‘attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness.’

In a Twitter thread, Field listed names of transgender and gender-nonconforming people who have been killed this year, citing a Human Rights Campaign article.

It was reported Monday that Field, along with two other Netflix employees, was suspended by Netflix for barging into a Zoom meeting intended for company directors, but she has since been reinstated. 

Transgender Netflix workers are said to be planning a walkout over the ongoing controversy.  

Terra Field, a trans Netflix employee, has been reinstated by the company after she was suspended for attempting to join a director-level meeting

 Terra Field, a trans Netflix employee, has been reinstated by the company after she was suspended for attempting to join a director-level meeting

Over the course of more than 40 tweets Field explained the violence felt by transgender the gender non-conforming community

Over the course of more than 40 tweets Field explained the violence felt by transgender the gender non-conforming community

Field then went on to include a list of 38 trans and nonbinary men and women of color who she said had been killed, adding in each case that the victim 'is not offended.'

Field then went on to include a list of 38 trans and nonbinary men and women of color who she said had been killed, adding in each case that the victim ‘is not offended.’

Field took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal that she has been reinstated by the company after they found that 'there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting ' that she and two other employees walked in on

Field took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal that she has been reinstated by the company after they found that ‘there was no ill-intent in my attending the QBR meeting ‘ that she and two other employees walked in on

Meanwhile, a slew of advocacy groups have been pressuring the streaming service to axe Chappelle’s show – his sixth for the streaming service.

David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, asked Netflix to apologize to the transgender community and pull The Closer from its library.

‘We do not condone violence against any members of our community and our feelings and existence as trans, queer, and non-binary/non-conforming people matter too,’ Johns said in a statement.

‘What’s being missed at this moment is the extreme rate at which Black trans women are murdered, annually. All of this to say, we should think and engage more critically so we can all get free.’ 

 His jokes also didn’t sit well with America’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, which issued a scathing statement about his standup routine.

‘Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,’ GLAAD tweeted.

‘Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes.’

Dear White People showrunner Jaclyn Moore, who is transgender, said she’ll boycott Netflix for continuing to ‘put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.’

‘I love so many of the people I’ve worked with at Netflix,’ Moore tweeted.

‘Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art… But I’ve been thrown against walls because, I’m not a ‘real’ woman. I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I’m done.’

NPR TV critic Eric Deggan said Chappelle also ventured into antisemitism during his routine by kiddingly pitching a movie called ‘Space Jews,’ about a diaspora of former Earthlings who return to the planet to take it over.

‘I don’t really care what point he’s trying to make,’ Deggan wrote. ‘A joke that sounds like antisemitism gets a hard pass from me.’

But not everyone’s a critic.

The sisters of Daphne Dorman – a transgender friend of Chappelle’s who died by suicide in October 2019 – said they were appalled at suggestions the comedian was transphobic.   

The sisters of Daphne Dorman – a transgender friend of Chappelle's who died by suicide in 2019 – said they were appalled at suggestions the comedian was transphobic

The sisters of Daphne Dorman – a transgender friend of Chappelle’s who died by suicide in 2019 – said they were appalled at suggestions the comedian was transphobic 

Dorman, a comedian who once opened for Chappelle – and who the comic talks about in detail in The Closer – defended the comic in the months before her death, for jokes also deemed transphobic during another of Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, that year.

Now, her family is outraged at accusations that Chappelle is transphobic or homophobic.

Her sister brushed off critics who have slammed Chappelle’s transgender jokes, saying the comedian ‘loved’ Dorman and said people cannot demand that ‘everyone see it your way’.

‘Just from the word ‘go’ she was always very funny,’  Becky Kugler told DailyMail.com. ‘She could make the sentence, ‘The dog took a crap’ hysterically funny. It’s just the way she can use her descriptive words and how she worded things.’

Kugler said Dorman likely would have found some of his material funny, and that she wouldn’t have taken offense at his comedic fodder.

Dorman defended Chappelle before her death, saying 'he doesn't consider himself better than me in any way'

Dorman defended Chappelle before her death, saying ‘he doesn’t consider himself better than me in any way’

‘In her mind, he wasn’t giving (the LBGTQ community) lack of support, nor was he giving them support. He was making jokes because that’s what comedians do,’ Kugler told DailyMail.com. ‘In her opinion, you make jokes about everything.’

Dorman drew criticism after defending Chappelle’s show Sticks and Stones, which took jabs at gay and trans people, with tweet on August 28, 2019.

‘Punching down requires you to consider yourself superior to another group,’ she tweeted. ‘@DaveChappelle doesn’t consider himself better than me in any way. He isn’t punching up or punching down.

‘He’s punching lines. That’s his job and he’s a master of his craft.’

Dorman’s other sibling, Brandy, told The Daily Beast: ‘Dave loved my sister and is an LGBTQ ally.’

‘She was bringing up our childhood … she didn’t feel it was fair that our father didn’t lose out on raising children, even though he was the one causing all of our PTSD now,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘She was very sad and that’s why I truly believe that’s what she meant by ‘she failed’. 

‘She feels she failed at getting past our trauma.’

Chappelle closes his Netflix special The Closer with a 10-minute minute segment on Dorman, who he described as ‘one of the coolest people I’ve ever met’ and a ‘beautiful friend.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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