Man accused of tackling comedian Dave Chappelle on stage is charged with assault

LOS ANGELES, May 4 (Reuters) – The man accused of tackling comedian Dave Chappelle onstage during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles was charged on Wednesday with felony assault with a deadly weapon.

The attack on Chappelle, 48, happened Tuesday night during a sold-out appearance by the Emmy-winning artist as part of an 11-day ‘Netflix is ​​a Joke’ festival , featuring many big names in stand-up comedy.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said the suspect had a replica handgun in his possession that contained a knife blade when he attacked Chappelle.

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Shortly after the attack, Chappelle was joined on stage by fellow comedian Chris Rock, who took the microphone and joked, “Was that Will Smith?” – a reference to his own experience of being slapped by the Hollywood star during the live broadcast of the Oscars on March 27.

Chappelle appeared to emerge unscathed from Tuesday’s attack and continued the show, making jokes about the incident and what happened to the suspect, who was seen being chased around the stage by security personnel .

Chappelle said it was lucky his attacker was ‘clumsy’, adding: ‘He’s over there getting stomped’, according to video footage of the altercation posted online by the news site on TMZ.com Celebrities.

Photos of the suspect sitting on an ambulance stretcher later showed his face visibly bruised and his right arm apparently dislocated or broken.

Police later identified him as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, who was being held in jail on $30,000 bond after being charged.

No hearing was immediately scheduled for Lee, according to online prison records.

There was no word from authorities on the motive for the attack, which the Los Angeles Times said unfolded after a routine in which Chappelle, dressed in a business suit, spoke about comedians caring more of their personal security these days and introduced their very own security guard. on the scene.

Chappelle caused a backlash last year for material featured in his Netflix comedy special “The Closer” that some members of the LGBTQ community called ridiculous to transgender people. The comedian’s supporters viewed the material in question as a cry against “cancellation culture.” Read more

The comedian himself hinted at the controversy from the scene shortly after being tackled on Tuesday, joking, “He was a trans man”, prompting laughter from the crowd.

The assault happened as the comedian, who headlined a multi-act show called ‘Dave Chappelle and Friends’, recognized a producer who worked at the show’s DJ booth.

Video of the incident shows the suspect charging onto the stage, apparently from the audience, and throwing his upper body into Chappelle, slamming his shoulder into the comedian’s ribs and chest.

Both men fell to the ground before getting back to their feet, and the suspect fled, briefly pursued by Chappelle at first. He dodged a swarm of people for several seconds before they tackled him near the back of the stage.

The incident drew immediate comparisons to the Oscars night clash between Smith and Rock, an unprecedented incident at the globally televised event that sparked concerns that other artists could face imitated attacks. Read more

“As unfortunate and disturbing as the incident was, Chappelle continued with the show,” his spokeswoman, Carla Sims, said in a statement Wednesday, giving Rock and fellow comedian-actor Jamie Foxx credit for having helped “calm the crowd”.

After the attack, she said Chappelle introduced the show’s final act, hip-hop musical duo Black Star. Other comedians on the bill included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf.

Chappelle was “fully cooperating with the active police investigation into this incident,” Sims said.

A representative for the Hollywood Bowl, one of Los Angeles’ most famous entertainment venues, told Reuters the incident was under investigation, declining to comment further.

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Reporting by Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Akriti Sharma and Shivam Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Will Dunham, Howard Goller and Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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