Dave Chappelle reportedly turned down an offer by the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. to honor him by renaming their performance theater after him.
Chappelle attended the naming ceremony, but rather than accepting the honor, he flipped the script entirely by refusing to accept the name-change, according to a TMZ report updated Monday evening. He reportedly announced at the school’s event that he did not want his name on the building and indicated the new name would be the “Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression” instead. Chappelle took a moment to remind the crowd how they responded to him over his “The Closer” comedy special, according to TMZ. He reportedly spoke about how hurtful it was when the crowd at the high school began to heckle him months ago.
After his performance in November 2021, Chappelle found himself in the spotlight for jokes about the transgender community, some of which were not well received by the crowd. (RELATED: Comedian Alex Stein Attends City Council Meeting In Women’s Swimsuit, Claims To Be Trans)
UPDATE: Chappelle is shifting gears … at tonight’s naming ceremony, he announced he is not placing his name on the Duke Ellington High School theater. https://t.co/K41JtoxW2V
— TMZ (@TMZ) June 21, 2022
Representatives for the school seemed proud to honor one of their successful alumni and indicated the renaming honor was a nod to the “ongoing commitment and service to the school,” according to TMZ.
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Allowing His High School’s Theater to Be Named After Him Amid Controversies https://t.co/AlWgrJk2Tu
— Variety (@Variety) June 21, 2022
At the time, a student reportedly called Chappelle a “bigot” and said, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish,” according to TMZ.
Chapelle originally challenged both his fans and his haters by requesting that both sides raise money for the school and indicated that if his opponents raised more money, he’d gladly give up the honor of the renaming. Ultimately, his supporters raised the most money, according to TMZ.