A 23-year-old man was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly tackled Dave Chappelle while carrying a replica handgun with a knife during the comedian’s performance at the Hollywood Bowl late Tuesday.
Chappelle was uninjured and continued the performance, but the incident shocked fans and led to a huge response by the Los Angeles Police Department. It also raised new concerns about the safety of comedians in the wake of Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock during the Oscars after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife.
Law enforcement sources said the suspect was injured during an altercation with security officials but did not provide details. He was identified as Isaiah Lee and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and held on $30,000 bail.
The motive for the attack was unknown, the sources said. Officials are not sure how the man got the weapon through Hollywood Bowl security. LAPD Officer J. Chavez described the weapon as a “replica handgun.”
When the man rushed the stage, several people came to Chappelle’s aid, including actor Jamie Foxx, who was also at the performance.
ABC News journalist Stephanie Wash said in a tweet that Chris Rock later joked about the incident: “Dave Chappelle was rushed & attacked on stage by a man at the Hollywood Bowl. Chappelle tussled w/ the man, who ran behind the screen on stage & was surrounded by security. Chris Rock, who performed earlier, came on stage w/ him & joked: ‘Was that Will Smith?’ ”
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Chappelle was performing his standup routine at the amphitheater as part of the Netflix Is a Joke festival when the man rushed on stage and tackled him.
The comedian was just wrapping up a routine, in which he talked about how comics have to worry more about their personal security in the wake of this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, where actor Will Smith slapped Rock on live television in reaction to a joke about Smith’s wife.
A video of Tuesday’s incident shows the man rush from the left side of the stage as Chappelle is about to finish his performance. The man seems to put his head down as he attempts to tackle the comedian, who tries to sidestep the attacker.
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The impact knocked Chappelle backward and out of the spotlight as security swarmed the man, pinning him to the stage floor.
Video showed paramedics putting the restrained man, who appeared to have an arm injury, onto a stretcher behind the stage.
Man That Attacked Dave Chappelle At His Show At Hollywood Bowl Has Hands Broken and Dislocated pic.twitter.com/ZvPgjdV5gz
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“The comedian had literally just said he now has more security because of all the uproar from his jokes about the Trans community,” tweeted BuzzFeed News reporter Brianna Sacks, who attended the show. She tweeted that “while the attacker was getting beat up,” Chappelle “made a joke about him probably being a Trans man.”
Since October, the Emmy-winning comic has been at the center of a public-relations firestorm over jokes deemed transphobic. The controversy culminated in several Netflix employees walking out on the job and Chappelle’s fans also showing up at the protest to defend him.
The fallout has forced Netflix into a corner, divided the comedy community and led many to reassess Chappelle’s brand, “cancel culture” and freedom of speech. Netflix has refused to pull his hit special or brand his jokes as hate speech, which were among the demands made by some of the streaming giant’s employees.