Man charged for attack on Dave Chappelle with replica gun at LA comedy festival | Dave Chappelle

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A man has been charged with an assault with a deadly weapon after the comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked during a performance in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles police department (LAPD) said Isaiah Lee, 23, had been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and taken into custody.

Chappelle, 48, was tackled during his performance at the Netflix Is a Joke festival at Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night. The attack took place as the comedian was closing the show and thanking earlier performers, including Chris Rock, Leslie Jones and Jon Stewart.

A police spokesperson said: “A famous comedian was performing at the Hollywood Bowl and when he finished his act, a male jumped on to the stage and tackled the celebrity. The suspect produced a replica handgun and pointed the item at the victim. He was taken into custody and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.”

Chappelle was apparently unharmed and returned to the stage to finish his set, joking to the audience that the attacker “was a trans man” – a reference to the uproar his comments about gender had caused in the trans community.

According to Brianna Sacks, a journalist for BuzzFeed News who tweeted about the incident, several security guards punched and kicked the attacker. Video later showed an unidentified man with a badly injured arm being put in an ambulance.

Sacks said that the Hollywood actor Jamie Foxx went on stage after the attack looking “absolutely shocked”, and that the musicians Mos Def and Talib Kweli performed as vehicles from the LAPD arrived behind the stage.

NBC News Los Angeles reported that police confirmed they had taken a man into custody and that he was armed with a replica gun “that can eject a knife blade” when discharged correctly. It was not clear if the man had tried to use the weapon.

Just came out of the Hollywood Bowl where a man charged and tackled Dave Chapelle on stage and got his ass kicked by at least 10 people.

LAPD and LAFD are now loading him into an ambulance pic.twitter.com/7SXPe9e8az

— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) May 4, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/bri_sacks/status/1521734502946525185″,”id”:”1521734502946525185″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”: false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”e8f0308b-96eb-4dce-ad62-c8ee5356396e”}}”>

Just came out of the Hollywood Bowl where a man charged and tackled Dave Chapelle on stage and got his ass kicked by at least 10 people.

LAPD and LAFD are now loading him into an ambulance pic.twitter.com/7SXPe9e8az

— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) May 4, 2022

The attack came after an incident in which Rock was slapped by Will Smith on stage at the Oscars after he made a joke about the actor’s wife. The slap prompted some comedians to question whether it was safe to perform publicly. Others have written about poor audience behaviors since lockdown.

Sharon Carpenter, an LA-based journalist who was in the audience on Tuesday, told the PA news agency: “It looked like someone dashed from the side of the stage, lunged at Dave, and all I saw was Dave basically flying in the air . He fell backwards on to his back from him, with his arms and legs up in the air. He was obviously in shock. We were all shocked. And I thought for a moment: ‘OK, is this a prank?’ because they had made some Will Smith jokes.”

Carpenter said Chappelle tried to keep the show going and made jokes about the situation, “but he was also pissed off about it … What was crazy, too, is that earlier in the night he made a joke about: ‘Oh, I heard people are getting slapped around here.’”

According to the ABC journalist Stephanie Wash, Rock came on stage with Chappelle. “Chris Rock, who performed earlier, came on stage w/ him & joked: ‘Was that Will Smith?’” she posted on Twitter.

Dave Chapelle was rushed & attacked on stage by a man at the Hollywood Bowl. Chapelle tussled w/ the man, who ran behind the screen on stage & was surrounded by security. Chris Rock, who performed earlier, came on stage w/ him & joked: “Was that Will Smith?” #netflixisajokefest

— Stephanie Wash (@WashNews) May 4, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/WashNews/status/1521733973281443840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1521733973281443840%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F %2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fentertainment-arts-61317901″,”id”:”1521733973281443840″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”: “Twitter”,”elementId”:”9b51e00d-b1b5-4586-9328-af3ac99cce92″}}”>

Dave Chapelle was rushed & attacked on stage by a man at the Hollywood Bowl. Chapelle tussled w/ the man, who ran behind the screen on stage & was surrounded by security. Chris Rock, who performed earlier, came on stage w/ him & joked: “Was that Will Smith?” #netflixisajokefest

— Stephanie Wash (@WashNews) May 4, 2022

The British comedian Jimmy Carr was also among those at the show, and expressed his relief that no one was seriously injured. Carr, who was at the center of his own controversy earlier this year for a routine about the Holocaust, posted a selfie taken with Chappelle, adding that he was “just happy everyone’s OK”.

The Hollywood Bowl show with the legendary Dave Chappelle was crazy. Just happy everyone’s ok. pic.twitter.com/Jji0mv2ub6

— Jimmy Carr (@jimmycarr) May 4, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/jimmycarr/status/1521754156481978368″,”id”:”1521754156481978368″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”: false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”d1e57160-a329-4820-a0e8-942840eb7f47″}}”/>

Chappelle has previously faced a backlash over comments about transgender people in his Netflix comedy special, The Closer. The comedian said “gender is a fact” and gave his backing to JK Rowling, who has also attracted criticism for her remarks about the concept of biological sex. Netflix employees reacted with anger to his comments and organized a walkout over the streaming firm’s decision to air the special.

A spokesperson for the Hollywood Bowl said an investigation had been launched into the attack. She added that it was “an active investigation and we are unable to comment further at this time”.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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