CNN’s Don Lemon called out several celebrities earlier this month for not showing up at protests for George Floyd. Floyd died on May 25 after an ex-Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck.
Dave Chappelle addressed Lemon’s comments in his new Netflix comedy special, released on YouTube Thursday, June 11. The special is called “8:46,” the same amount of time that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin drove his knee into Floyd’s neck.
The Netflix release was filmed on June 6 in front of a live audience who wore masks and practiced social distancing.
“If you are a millionaire or a gazillionare or a movie star or a politician and you don’t step up now, when the hell are you going to do it?” said Lemon on his CNN news show. “By me calling out your name, it doesn’t mean I’m calling you out. It means I love you, Ellen [DeGeneres]. It means I love you, Oprah [Winfrey]. I know they give millions of dollars to charity every year.”
“I want to see you, Tracee Ellis Ross. I want to see you, Tyler Perry. I want to see you, Drake,” Lemon continued. “I want to see you, my friend Anthony Anderson. I love you. … I want to see Diddy out there.”
Chappelle addressed Lemon’s comments around the 7:36 mark of the 27-plus-minute special.
The comedian said that he doesn’t understand why Lemon wants celebrities to lead protests when young activists are doing a stellar job of it already.
“I’m watching Don Lemon, that hotbed of reality,” said Chappelle. “He says, ‘Where are all these celebrities? Why aren’t you talking?’ This n—a said everybody. I was screaming at the TV. I dare you to say me, n—a. … Do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f–k what Ja Rule thinks? Does it matter about celebrity? No! This is the streets talking for themselves. They don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut, and I’ll still keep my mouth shut. But don’t think that my silence is complicit.”
“Why would anyone care what their favorite comedian thinks after they saw a police officer kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds?” he continued. “I can’t get that number out of my head because it was my time of birth on my birth certificate.”
Lemon responded Friday, June 12, on CNN’s morning show “New Day.” He said that Chappelle is his favorite comedian and he truly cares what he says.
“I actually agree with Dave Chappelle,” Lemon stated. “I think the establishment has been a bit behind. … I think that the young people who are out there in the streets don’t really care what we have to say.”
“But I do think that this is a moment, not a moment for modesty,” he added. “I think it’s a moment that we should all be using our platform to do whatever we can and at least to show those young people and those people out there that we support them. … But the irony is that his special is called ‘8:46,’ he’s talking about this issue, and I think it’s great. He’s using his platform to talk about this in the way that he can.”
In another part of Chappelle’s special, he slammed conservative provocateur Candace Owens, who in a Facebook video said Black people shouldn’t look at Floyd as a martyr.
Chappelle then talked about Eric Garner, the Black man who died in 2014 in Staten Island, New York, after being put in a chokehold by a white NYPD officer. Garner was accused of selling untaxed cigarettes at the time.
Chappelle spoke about the other cops who were on the scene with Daniel Pantaleo, the officer that choked Garner. Like Floyd, Garner told the officers that he couldn’t breathe while on the ground.
“Got murdered by one police officer while five of his fellow officers watched him do it,” the comic explained. “Not one of them said … take it easy, none of that s–t because they were being recorded. Because they were afraid if I correct my fellow officer on this camera, there’s going to open us up for some kind of liability.”