The man who charged Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles earlier this month said he attacked the comedian because he found the show’s content “triggering.”
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Isaiah Lee told the New York Post exclusively from the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.
He implored Chappelle to be more sensitive, adding: “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
Lee’s experience at the “Dave Chappelle and Friends” show, which was part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival, took a turn when Chappelle started talking about controversies stemming from jokes he’s made about transgender people and when he joked about homelessness.
Lee said he’s a single dad and has experienced homelessness. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke,” he said.
But it wasn’t Chappelle who ultimately set Lee off. He said another comedian in the show made a joke about pedophilia and, having been molested, was triggered.
The LAPD said Lee jumped onstage and attacked Chappelle just as he was about to leave.
Security guards and people in plainclothes intervened and pulled Lee off the comedian, before detaining him.
Chappelle later continued the show, joking about the altercation. “It was a trans man,” he remarked, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lee, who suffered a broken arm as people tackled him, said: “They spat on me and twisted me as if on purpose.”
Police said Lee had a replica handgun with a knife blade. Lee said he didn’t carry the weapon with him on stage. He said he carries it because he considers himself a “minor celebrity.” Lee raps and once released a song about Chappelle.
He is charged with misdemeanor counts 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 the event or interferes with the performer.
If he is convicted on the misdemeanor counts, Lee faces up to 1½ years in jail and a $4,000 fine.
But after the Hollywood Bowl incident, a former roommate of Lee’s came forward to accuse him of stabbing him during a fight on Dec. 2 at a transitional housing apartment, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Lee is now charged with attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty.
“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,” Lee told the Post. “My son will be big by the time I get out.”
Chappelle faced criticism again after making a surprise appearance at John Mulaney’s show in Columbus, Ohio, Friday.
People who were at the show said he joked about transgender people and made a homophobic joke. Audience members were required to lock away their phones.
Despite repeated controversy, Chappelle hasn’t backed down from making jokes that some in the LGBTQ community find offensive.