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Minneapolis venue cancels Dave Chappelle’s comedy show hours before start

A venue in Minneapolis canceled a sold-out show for comedian Dave Chappelle on Wednesday, just hours before the performance was expected to begin.

The venue, First Avenue, apologized for booking Chappelle after it faced backlash due to the comedian’s controversial political statements, including statements that have been deemed “transphobic,” in his Netflix special The Closer released earlier this year. The show will now be performed at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis instead.

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“To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry. We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down,” the venue said in a post on social media.

The venue unexpectedly announced the show on Monday, and tickets sold out five minutes after tickets were made available on Tuesday. The show is additionally slated for four more performances at the Varsity Theater on Thursday and Friday, two of which were added due to popular demand, according to news station KSTP.

“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have,” the post added.

The venue added that all feedback was welcomed, acknowledging that some of the audience would not be happy about the decision and the subsequent change of venue.

Chappelle received heavy backlash in October after his comedy special aired on Netflix. Members of the LGBT community, including employees at Netflix, claimed the special was harmful to the transgender community, prompting calls for the subscription service to remove the special. However, Netflix CEO Ted Sarantos refused to remove the content. Chappelle was also the center of controversy after his 2019 special Sticks & Stones received similar attention.

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Chappelle’s latest special What’s in a Name? was released on Netflix earlier this month.

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