‘I Will Gladly Step Aside’: Dave Chappelle Challenges Opponents to Donate to Former High School, Promises to Reject School’s Honor If They Donate More Than His Supporters

Dave Chappelle wants his critics to shut up and pay up. In a recent social media post, the veteran funnyman challenged those opposed to his former high school naming a theatre after him to donate to the school; give more than his supporters, and the standup comedian said he’d “gladly step aside” from the whole event. 

“Having the theater named after me is a great honor,” the 48-year-old wrote in an Instagram post over the weekend. “Although, that was not my idea, aim, or desire.” He added that at the request of the school’s founder, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, he accepted.

Cleveland, Ohio – Oct. 30: Dave Chappelle speaks onstage during the 36th-Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Oct. 30, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Chappelle said he intended on honoring that request, however, “If you object to my receiving this honor, I urge you to donate to the school, noting your objection. If you are in favor of the theater being named, ‘Chappelle,’ I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval.”

He further stated that he’ll gracefully bow out “If by April, those against the ‘Chappelle’ theater exceed the donations of those who are neutral or in favor of the theater being named ‘Chapelle,’ I will gladly step aside.” He added, “If not, I will happily attend the naming ceremony. And if you don’t care enough to donate…please, shut the f–k up, forever.”

Dave Chappelle tells critics he’ll decline former high school’s honor if more people donate to the school, noting an objection to the school’s theatre being named after him. Photo: @davechappelle/Instagram

As previously reported, Duke Ellington School of the Arts uninvited the actor to a fundraiser following the backlash behind his highly publicized Netflix special “The Closer.” The October special landed Chappelle in controversy following remarks he made about members of the LGBTQ+ community many found harmful. 

Students at the Washington D.C., school reportedly pushed back on the idea of associating themselves with the “Half Baked” star, which was followed by claims of potential walkouts. The school seemingly had canceled the event entirely. 

However, on Nov. 28, the school released a statement explaining why it was following through with plans of renaming the school’s theatre after the Emmy Award-winning star. 

“While we appreciate Dave’s impromptu and spirited fundraising initiative, we stand behind our decision to honor the wishes of our co-founder, the late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, to name the theatre after Chappelle,” the statement read. “All donations will go towards arts programming and every donor, irrespective of their support or opposition” to the naming of the theatre, the statement continued, “will receive an official thank you from our team.”

The school also noted that the star “deeply” cares about the institution and its students and revealed that the comedian “made an unannounced visit before the Thanksgiving break to meet with his Ellington family and to hear directly from the few students who have concerns about his recent comedy special, “The Closer.”  The naming ceremony will reportedly take place sometime in April. 

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