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CNN’s Don Lemon Responds to Dave Chappelle Slam in Netflix Special

Dave Chappelle - Don Lemon
Mathieu Bitton/REX/Shutterstock (Chappelle); Greg Allen/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (Lemon)

Dave Chappelle, in a new Netflix stand-up special, takes a swipe at CNN anchor Don Lemon — pushing back on Lemon’s call for Black celebrities to speak up on racial justice.

“And I’m watching Don Lemon, that hotbed of reality,” Chappelle says in the special, which Netflix surprise-released for free on YouTube early Friday. “He says, ‘Where are all these celebrities? Why aren’t you all talking?’… Do you want to see a celebrity right now? Do we give a f— 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… but don’t think that my silence is complicit.”

Added Chappelle: “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?”, referring to the May 25 murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody.

Lemon, in an appearance Friday morning on CNN’s “New Day,” responded to Chappelle’s criticism.

“I actually agree with Dave Chappelle,” Lemon said, saying that Chappelle is his favorite comedian. “I think that the young people who are out there in the streets don’t really care what we have to say” in the “establishment.”

However, Lemon said, it’s “not a moment for modesty. I think it’s a moment that we should all be using our platform[s] to do whatever we can… at least to show those young people and the people out there that we support them.”

Lemon also pointed out, “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.” The CNN host also invited Chappelle to come on his program “anytime.”

In Chappelle’s “8:46” special, shot before a live audience, he also rips into conservative political commentator Candace Owens in crude terms, lambastes the hypocrisy of Fox News host Laura Ingraham (calling her a “c—“) and talks about being unable to accept a Grammy on the day Kobe Bryant died.

The “8:46” special, which runs a little over 27 minutes, had nearly 3 million views on YouTube about 13 hours after its release.