Dave Chappelle Declines Having His High School Theater Named After Him

In a surprising turn of events Monday night (June 20th), Dave Chappelle declined having the theater at his high school alma mater named after him. Chappelle announced the news during the renaming ceremony, sharing that the Duke Ellington School of Arts theater would be named “Theater of Artistic Freedom & Expression” instead.

The Half Baked star added that the school’s students “sincerely hurt” him during the original renaming ceremony that was scheduled to take place in November of last year. “I took a lot of cold shots in business… but that day, they hurt me,” he said to the audience on Monday night (June 20th). The students’ criticism was in reference to Chappelle’s anti-trans jokes featured in his Netflix special The Closer.

“No matter what they say about ‘The Closer,’ it is still (one of the) most watched specials on Netflix. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it. 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 said.