Yesterday Dave Chappelle was subject to a surprise attack during his Comedic performance.
Chappelle’s Brush With Fate
Chappelle was one of many invited to the Netflix is a Joke: The Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. According to sources, others on the roster were Leslie Jones and Chris Rock. While it’s not understood how the attacker got as close as he did, Chappelle was rushed by an audience member during his performance.
A Grander Issue
Clearly, there is an issue with protections regarding comedians conducting their jobs. Undoubtedly, the masses are still reeling from the unsuspected attack on Chris Rock at the hands of mega movie and hip-hop star Will Smith. So here we are now; a little over a month later, Chappelle finds himself on the defense. Both incidents warrant a closer look at security protocols for protecting these artists.
The Threat Level: Chappelle vs. Rock
Many do not mention the level of threat the artists are facing. Some still debate the severity of the impact of Smith’s assault on Rock. However, looking more closely at the Smith and Rock incident, most will agree that the difference is due to the nature of the assault and the perpetrator’s identity. With these dynamics in play, it is difficult to perceive the threat level in the Smith and Rock incident. However, now we are beginning to get a clear picture.
The difference: Chappelle Incident
However, in Chappelle’s case, there is not much to debate. This is due to the lack of familiarity with the perpetrator. So, identity or personal attachments are separated. Therefore, it is easy to judge the act instead of making considerations relative to the proximity of the connection.
Furthermore, the attack on Chappelle posed a severe threat to his safety,
“The Los Angeles Police Department early Wednesday confirmed the attack, saying the weapon the man was carrying can eject a knife blade “when you discharge it correctly.”
While no one was harmed, the possibility of what could have happened looms large.
Chappelle Has a history.
This type of threat is not foreign to Chappelle. According to a source,
Before the attack, the comedian spoke about increased security around him due to widespread backlash for jokes he has made about the transgender community.
It is terrifying that vigilance has become a companion for the comedian.
Questions Which Begs an Answer
Given the Chappelle incident, the question have been raised. Why must one fear for safety because of a distasteful joke? Where is the line of separation between actual harm and perceived harm? Where are the protections for comedians? And more pointedly, in a rational society, why should comedians need such protections? Indeed, the last question answers itself.
It is truly a sad day when those who have chosen the path of comedy as an occupation fear for life and limb. Regardless, we are breathing a little easier today. The perpetrator was apprehended. And, moreover Chappelle is unharmed. The only thing left now is to settle into the aftermath, lay all our cards on the table, and answer where do we go from here?
Written by Renae Richardson