Dave Chappelle Controversy: A 23-year-old guy with an imitation pistol and a folding knife blade in the barrel stormed onstage late Tuesday and assaulted Dave Chappelle.
Isaiah Lee was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and is being detained on $30,000 bail.
According to LAPD sources, Lee slipped through metal detectors and security screenings with a knife in a backpack. Despite his lack of credentials, he was allowed on stage, insiders added.
Security footage is being examined to understand how Lee escaped the security check, police sources said.
Sources say an entry without metal detectors and searches exists but is not publicly accessible. Contractors provide security within the venue. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks & Recreation jointly own and administer the facility.
On camera, the guy rushes from the left side of the stage, mid-performance. He looks to be concentrating as he charges at Chappelle, knocking him back. As security crowds him, he flees across the stage.
Paramedics placed the restrained guy on a stretcher behind the stage, as seen on video. Fans booed him as he was wheeled away.
Chappelle was unharmed and went on. It stunned spectators and provoked an enormous police reaction.
It also heightened concerns about comedians’ safety when Will Smith famously slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars for making a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Chappelle had addressed it earlier in his show.
Carla Sims, Chappelle’s spokesperson, said the comedian is cooperating with the police inquiry.
Chappelle performed at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday, his fourth in a week as part of the Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival. Sims claimed the edgy comic’s performance matched him with the Monty Python ensemble for most headlined events at the Hollywood Bowl.
“Chappelle refused to let last night’s tragedy overshadow the pleasure of this historic moment,” she stated.
Dave Chappelle Controversy: The motive for the attack was unknown
Tehran Von Ghasri sat just in front of the stage among industry leaders and superstars including Kyrie Irving, Rihanna, and ASAP Rocky. The Times quoted Von Ghasri as saying he saw “an unidentified young man in a sweatshirt and a bag jump over this barrier, slide across the barrier and land” near to the stage.
His “Spidey sense started tingling” and he told the nearest Hollywood Bowl security member that the barricade had been broken. She “kind of ignored” his warning.
“It could have been avoided.” “I couldn’t even use my phone there. I’m not sure how this individual got in with a rucksack and a rifle with a knife attached…. This happened in the Hollywood Bowl, which is normally a fairly safe venue, so I was astonished.
“The L.A. Phil’s main priority is the safety of our performers, guests, and staff,” said Sophie Jefferies, director of public relations. “The situation is still under investigation and we cannot speak further.”
After the guy stormed the stage, Chappelle was aided by actor and comedian Jamie Foxx.
“Was that Will Smith?” Rock joked onstage with Chappelle.
When the incident occurred, Chappelle had just finished a routine on how comics must be more concerned about their own safety.
According to BuzzFeed News writer Brianna Sacks, who was at the concert, “the comic just claimed he has additional security because of all the backlash from his trans jokes.” During the attacker’s beating, Chappelle “made a joke about him presumably being a Trans man,” she tweeted.
Before the incident, Chappelle had asked his security man, Travis, to fetch him a drink in a red plastic cup.
“This is my new security,” Chappelle told the audience, adding that people were “out for him.”
He then told a story of a racist tattooed man who kept coming to his Ohio house and yelling the N-word. He needed a protection order against the man, which the court decided was the only way cops could arrest him.
You could shoot him, or you could simply shoot him,” Chappelle recalls the court administrator stating.
“I didn’t like it.” Instead, he volunteered to help his trespasser, with the caveat that he never be exposed as the payer.
Attendees said the incident was all the more disturbing because the comic received two standing ovations at the end of his show.
As a “Dave Chappelle audience,” the crowd cheered appreciatively when the opening acts mentioned their comfort speaking provocative jokes.
Since October, the Emmy-winning comedian has been the target of transphobic jokes. Several Netflix employees quit, and Chappelle‘s supporters joined him at the rally to protect him.
These events have polarized the comedy community and caused many to rethink Chappelle’s brand, “cancel culture,” and free speech. Netflix has declined to withdraw his blockbuster program or designate his jokes as hate speech, as several staff demanded.
“We wholeheartedly back the freedom of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence,” a Netflix spokeswoman told The Times on Wednesday.
If Chappelle chose to sue, the venue, its management, security crew, and producers may all be held accountable, according to criminal defense expert Rachel Fiset.
According to Chappelle, he might be attacked onstage while performing, hence the venue should provide safety. “I am sure the Hollywood Bowl will look into how this transpired, especially how a lethal weapon was carried into the concert.”
Lee most recently resided in Redondo Beach with his brothers. According to booking and court records, he was arrested in August 2019 in Hollywood under the name Arias-Lee on suspicion of misdemeanor violence but never prosecuted.
He claimed cops he was homeless and a worker when he was arrested, documents say.
Lee and his four siblings were raised by their grandmother in Brooklyn, New York, according to a lawsuit brought by one of Lee’s brothers.