Dave Chappelle had made it clear that he did not approve of ViacomCBS licensing his Comedy Central series, Chappelle’s Show, without paying him a dime. The comedian spoke about it during his recent Saturday Night Live monologue, and now he has done something about it.
In a video, titled Unforgiven, which was posted on Instagram this morning, Chappelle says that he had asked Netflix, where he has a deal for standup specials, to take Chappelle’s Show, which the streamer had licensed on a non-exclusive basis, off the service.
Netflix has honored Chappelle’s request, and removed the show overnight last night, a rep for the streamer confirmed to Deadline. The show began streaming on Netflix in the U.S. on Nov. 1. Chappelle’s Show, owned by ViacomCBS, is still available on the company’s Comedy Central and CBS All Access outlets and was also recently licensed by HBO Max. Companies that license a program pay the seller who, in turn, has to compensate the creatives on the show.
“People think I made a lot of money from Chappelle’s Show,” Chappelle says in the video, filmed during a recent standup set, in which he reminisces about his comedy career. “When I left that show I never got paid. They (ViacomCBS) didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract. But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal ‘cause I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either. That’s why I like working for Netflix. I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn’t even exist. And when I found out they were streaming Chappelle’s Show, I was furious. How could they not– how could they not know? So you know what I did? I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better. That’s why I f*ck with Netflix. Because they paid me my money, they do what they say they’re going to do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a businessman. They did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong. And I do — I think that if you are f*cking streaming that show you’re fencing stolen goods.”
Chappelle repeated his appeal to fans, which he also made on SNL earlier this month. “So I’m not going to the agents, I’m coming to my real boss — I’m coming to you. I’m begging you — if you ever liked me, if you ever think there was anything worthwhile about me, I’m begging you, please don’t watch that show. I’m not asking you to boycott any network — boycott me. Boycott Chappelle’s Show. Do not watch it unless they pay me.”
Chappelle was the co-creator, executive producer and star of Chappelle’s Show, which had an abbreviated but very successful run on Comedy Central from 2003-2006.
Netflix has been Chappelle’s home for four years with a deal for standup specials.
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