Dave Chappelle’s attacker reveals why he jumped on stage, tackled comedian

Click to play video: 'Comedian Dave Chappelle tackled on stage during Los Angeles show'
Comedian Dave Chappelle tackled on stage during Los Angeles show
Dave Chappelle was attacked during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles late on May 3, according to videos and eyewitness accounts on social media. – May 4, 2022

Isaiah Lee, a Los Angeles man charged with assaulting Dave Chappelle during a stand-up show, has revealed why he tackled the comedian in a jailhouse interview with the New York Post.

Lee, 23, said he attended the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival on May 3 to have a “good time,” but became “triggered” when Chappelle came on and joked about the LGBTQ2 community and homelessness.

“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee told the New York Post on Saturday. The paper reported that his right arm was still in a sling after Chappelle’s security team beat him up following the on-stage attack.

“I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”

Story continues below advertisement

Videos of the incident taken by audience members that night at the Hollywood Bowl showed Lee rushing the stage and charging into Chappelle. The comedian fell to the floor as several people ran over to help. Lee was stretchered out of the venue after being injured by security staff who apprehended him.

Lee has since pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanour charges of battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance, and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.

During the attack, Lee was armed with a replica handgun that can eject a knife blade, but he alleges that the knife was never used. Lee is a rapper who goes by “NoName_Trapper” and said that he carries the weapon as protection because he is a “minor celebrity.”

This photo combination provided by the Los Angeles Police Department shows the fake handgun with the real knife blade inside that was taken from the man who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles Police Department

Lee was angered by a number of jokes that Chappelle made during his performance, particularly on homelessness.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m also a single dad and my son is five,” said Lee, who explained that he faced homelessness in the past. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke.”

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

He also divulged that another comedian in the lineup that night made a joke about pedophilia, which Lee said reminded him of his own molestation when he was a teen.

Lee has additionally been charged with attempted murder after one of his former roommates spoke out in the aftermath of the attack. Lee allegedly stabbed the roommate while they lived in a transitional housing facility in December 2021.

“It was pretty much done,” Lee said about his criminal case with Chappelle.

“But it went from me probably only doing six months (in jail) and having to do community service and living in a transitional home… to possibly 15 or more years in jail,” he added. “My son will be big by the time I get out.”

Chappelle, 48, was unharmed in the attack and returned to finish his set after the incident blew over.

Story continues below advertisement

When Chappelle’s 2021 Netflix special The Closer was released, a number of the streaming company’s employees staged a walkout to protest, calling Chappelle’s jokes transphobic. Chappelle supported J.K. Rowling during the special, agreeing with her that “gender is a fact.”

While biological sex can impact one’s gender, many people do not identify within the gender binary of male and female, including transgender, non-binary, gender-queer and gender-fluid people.

Chappelle and Netflix have not yet commented on Lee’s remarks.

Chappelle has been granted a restraining order against Lee, who must stay at least 100 yards away from the comedian and any venue where he might be performing in.


Sponsored content