Dave Chappelle has swapped venues for his Minneapolis show after his original venue was hit with backlash for hosting him.
First Avenue, which planned to host Chappelle’s performance Wednesday night, announced on Instagram hours before the comedian was set to perform that he’d take his show to the Varsity Theater, another Minneapolis venue, instead.
“To staff, artists and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” read the theater’s statement. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down.”
First Avenue said it strives to make its venues “the safest spaces in the country” and will “continue with that mission.”
“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have,” the theater added.
Chappelle has emerged as a polarizing figure in comedy following the October release of his controversial Netflix special “The Closer,” in which he made several jokes deemed transphobic by LGBTQ activists. Netflix employees also staged a walkout in protest of the special and how the company responded to the backlash.
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The special received two Primetime Emmy nominations Tuesday, sparking outrage on social media over the decision to give the special further recognition.
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First Avenue also noted Wednesday ticketholders will receive an email with information regarding transferring tickets to the show at Varsity Theater.
Chappelle will also perform at Varsity Theater Thursday at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. All tickets, according to Live Nation, are sold out.
First Avenue’s decision to no longer host Chappelle Wednesday drew a wide range of Twitter reactions.
“Good for you @FirstAvenue!” wrote @ConnorAlexander.
“kind of hilarious that First Avenue has a whole code of conduct on their website that specifically mentions transphobia and they still booked Dave Chappelle in the first place,” wrote @alshipley. “like c’mon”
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“Comedians push cultural boundaries to bring taboo topics into the air — Chappelle does so with the best intentions — and to great effect,” wrote @cjohnson999. “First Avenue represents the reprehensible response and path of cowardice.”
“Did First Avenue just learn about Dave Chappelle this afternoon?” wrote @SeriusLeeee.
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