Kevin Hart commended the apparent security beat-down of the man who tackled Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl Tuesday evening, telling Jimmy Kimmel Live guest host Mike Birbiglia last night, “It’s one of those things that needed to happen.”
Viral photos of the 23-year-old Isaiah Lee (see below) show the suspect’s battered and swollen face and his distended, possibly broken arm as he was being loaded into an ambulance following the Bowl incident. Lee’s brother has told Rolling Stone that Lee, who was carrying a replica gun containing a knife during the Chappelle attack, is homeless and struggles with mental illness.
Whether Hart was aware of Lee’s difficulties was unclear. On Kimmel last night, he said, “Somebody ran onstage and got their ass whooped…It’s one of those things that needed to happen.” (Watch Hart’s interview above.)
Hart continued, “Do you want people to continue to think that they can cross that line and break the barrier of entertainer and [audience]? Somebody getting their ass whipped sends a message out to other people that was like, ‘I was thinking about doing that, but seeing that, I don’t really want to do that.’”
“I think that the world that we’re in right now, there’s a lot of lines that have gotten blurred, and sometimes you gotta take a lot of steps back to take a step forward,” Hart said, adding. “I think it’s time to get back to a place of respect for your live entertainer and understand that you’re coming to a show.”
Hart did not refer to Will Smith’s onstage smacking of Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars; Smith was not removed by Oscar security following the attack.
Not much is known about the suspect’s motives, but an onstage joke by Chappelle that he was “a trans man” was disputed by Lee’s brother and slammed online by many people in the trans community. One much-shared tweet said, “If you think I’m going to feel sorry for that transphobe Dave Chappelle, please don’t. The moment security protects him from the attack, he immediately jokes it was a transgender man (it wasn’t) — but it’s clear he will continue to put a target on trans people regardless.”
Lee has been charged with four misdemeanor counts by Los Angeles County prosecutors, who declined to pursue any felony charges. The misdemeanor counts include battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.
The thing I wanna know is…How did this dude Isaiah Lee get a replica gun and a KNIFE through all those metal detectors at the Hollywood Bowl?
When we went to Dave Chappelle’s Saturday performance at the Bowl, security was so tight, they were locking up everyone’s phones pic.twitter.com/Ad0IYpXmSt
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) May 4, 2022
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