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Dave Chappelle won’t attach his name to theater at high school alma mater amid ongoing controversy

Monday would have been the night the theater building at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. was officially named in honor of one of the school’s most famous graduates: Dave Chappelle. However, the controversial comedian decided against it.

Instead, Chappelle announced it would be called the Theater for Artistic Expression, according to the Washington Post.

Chappelle, who has been at the center of a controversy over comments in his Netflix special, The Closer, perceived to be transphobic, went on to speak about how his work has been characterized and analyzed.

“I saw in the newspaper that a man who was dressed in women’s clothing threw a pie at the Mona Lisa and tried to deface it,” said Chappelle, comparing the incident to The Closer, which he claimed was unfairly portrayed in the press.

“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” he insisted.

The comedian compared it to reporting the news that a large rabbit shot a man in the face, but failing to also report that the work being described was a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

“When you say I can’t say something, the more urgent is it for me to say it,” Chappelle continued. “It has nothing to do with what you are saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my freedom of artistic expression.”

Chappelle also faced backlash from students at his former high school following his jokes about the transgender community.

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