LGBTQ+ group calls for cancellation of Dave Chappelle’s sold-out Santa Rosa shows by venue

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) — Comedian Dave Chappelle is bringing his act to Santa Rosa this week, an appearance that is not without controversy and protest. Chapel’s past jokes about the transgender community have led local activists to call for shows to be cancelled.

A popular and controversial comedian, Chappelle is scheduled to perform at Santa Rosa’s Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. Four of his shows this week sold out in hours.

“I would say my organization is concerned and upset by this,” said Jennifer Riehl, senior member of TransLife Sonoma County.

Rehle is demanding that Chappelle’s shows be canceled because of the comedian’s past jokes aimed at the transgender community.

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“Supporting transphobia does, it normalizes transphobia,” Rehl said.

The issue is important to LGBTQ+ advocates because of the potential for discrimination and violence against trans people.

Online petitions to prevent Chappelle from performing were mounting.

“We want LBC to support the local community. To book it is a slap in the face to our community,” Rehal said.

“I think the important thing to remember is that free speech does not mean freedom from consequences,” said Orlando O’Shea, a founding member of TransLife Sonoma County.

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The Luther Burbank Center says Live Nation rented out its theater for the chapel’s shows.

In a statement, the center said: “LBC has been a gathering place for more than 40 years, working with the community and a range of presenters to provide a space for diverse voices to be heard. We have always We appreciate feedback from our community, and we’ve shared the collective concerns we’ve received with LiveNation. Additionally, we’re inviting those who have expressed their thoughts to continue the conversation. What’s more, we’ve been able to find ways to better support and raise the voice of our entire community.”

“It’s a strategy of ‘do it now, forgive later.’ That dog is not hunting with our group,” O’Shea said.

Chappelle’s show in Minneapolis last week was canceled and moved to another venue in response to the protests.

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Local comedian Juan Carlos Arenas says he supports Chappelle.

“Not since Richard Pryor have we had someone like Chappelle, free to speak his mind despite the backlash,” Arenas said.

But the trans community isn’t backing down.

“I’m a supporter of free speech, yes. Should it be allowed? No,” Rehal said.

Chappelle is also scheduled to perform in Napa this weekend.

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