Dave Chappelle has a message for the ViacomCBS execs licensing “Chappelle’s Show”: He’s coming to take it back.
And he started by asking Netflix (NAS:NFLX) to pull his hit Comedy Central series from its streaming platform, which it did overnight, Deadline has confirmed .
‘That’s why I f— 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.’
Chappelle, the co-creator, executive producer and star of the titular show that ran on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006, has been vocal about his disapproval of ViacomCBS (NAS:VIAC) licensing it without paying him. And he’s been particularly frustrated by “Chappelle’s Show” streaming on the company’s Comedy Central and CBS All Access outlets, as well as on platforms like Netflix and HBO Max (NYS:T) .
Earlier this month, the artist and comedian blasted his Comedy Central contract, which he signed at 28 (when, by his description, he was broke and an expectant father), in his Election Day “Saturday Night Live” monologue . Chappelle mused on what his great-grandfather, who was born a slave, would think of seeing a show streaming on Netflix and HBO that bears his name, “and I didn’t get paid for any of it,” Chappelle said.
“If he could see me now, he’d probably be like, ‘This [expletive] got bought and sold more than I have,’ ” he added. Watch it below — and be warned that it contains explicit language:
And on Tuesday, Chappelle posted a roughly 20-minute video titled “Unforgiven” to his Instagram (NAS:FB) account, recounting the times over the course of his career that someone took something from him.
“People think I made a lot of money from ‘Chappelle’s Show,’ ” Chappelle says in the video. “When I left that show, I never got paid. They 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?”
So he says he called Netflix, where he scored a $60 million deal for three standup specials four years ago, and told the company that streaming “Chappelle’s Show” while he wasn’t being paid for it made him feel “bad.” The streaming service agreed to pull the show. While reps for Netflix were not immediately available to respond to a MarketWatch request for comment, a spokesperson reportedly told Deadline that the platform had honored Chappelle’s request.
‘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?’
“That’s why I f— with Netflix,” Chappelle says, praising the company for paying him fairly and doing “what they say they’re going to do.” And he said that any service streaming “Chappelle’s Show” is “fencing stolen goods.”
“They stole that from me — they just took it,” he says.
And he appeals to fans to boycott the show on the streaming services that it’s currently available on until he gets his cut. “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,” he says.
He ends his video by calling out ViacomCBS shareholders, as well, “because all that sh— that they do to [artists], well, they do everything for their shareholders,” he says, asking that investors tell company executives that this is wrong. “You should know what’s in the hot dogs you eat.”
And he warns the company that it will be paying him, eventually. “We can fight together and work this thing with ‘Chappelle’s Show’ out. Or ... I can just take it,” he says, before dropping the microphone and walking off the stage.
Watch it here — and note, again, there is some explicit language:
Representatives of ViacomCBS were not immediately available for comment.