Photo: Lester Cohen/Netflix

Dave Chappelle has defended J.K. Rowling and declared himself a “TERF” in a rant “ridiculing trans people”.

The stand-up comedian is facing backlash after making the comments in The Closer, his latest comedy special on Netflix.

“They cancelled J.K. Rowling — my God. [Effectively] she said gender was a fact, the trans community got mad as shit, they started calling her a TERF,” Chappelle says.

The term “TERF” references “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” whose views are widely seen as transphobic.

After making jokes about the bodies of trans women, he goes on to say: “Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.”

Despite this, Chappelle then claims that he is “not saying that to say trans women aren’t women” and that “people who watch his specials would know that I never had a problem with transgender people”.

GLAAD immediately condemned his words, calling them “synonymous with ridiculing trans people”.

“Dave Chappelle’s brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities,” they write in a statement on Twitter. “Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don’t support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.”

The National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group, share a similar sentiment – calling on Netflix to pull the special that landed on the platform on 5 October.

“With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States — the majority of whom are Black transgender people — Netflix should know better. Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence,” David Johns, executive director of the group, explains in a statement. “Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.”

Elsewhere in the special, Chappelle defends DaBaby in reference to his derogatory comments about AIDS and the LGBTQ+ community.

“Part of the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t know DaBaby’s history,” the 48-year-old says. “He once shot [19-year-old Jaylin Craig] and killed him, in Walmart. This is true.

“Do you see where I’m going with this? In our country, you can shoot and kill a [n-word], but you better not hurt a gay person’s feelings.”