Venue axes Dave Chappelle gig because of fears he would upset people
The show was cancelled just hours before it was set to take place
A venue in the US has cancelled a sold-out Dave Chappelle gig and apologised to its "staff, artists and community" for booking the show in the first place.
Chappelle had been due to perform at First Avenue in Minneapolis on Wednesday (July 20.) Tickets had gone on sale just two days earlier and all 1,500 sold out in minutes.
But just hours before the comedian was due to step on stage, the venue cancelled the gig.
In a statement on social media, First Avenue said it had 'let down' its community, and that First Avenue is "not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls."
They added that in trying to 'honor' freedom of artistic expression, the venue had "lost sight of the impact" the Chappelle gig would have.
The statement read: "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.
"We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls."
We hear you. Tonight’s show has been cancelled at First Avenue and is moving to the Varsity Theater. See our full statement for more. pic.twitter.com/tkf7rz0cc7
— First Avenue (@FirstAvenue) July 20, 2022
It continued: "The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission.
"We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have.
"We know there are some who would not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback."
The show has since been moved to the city's Varsity Theater, Deadline reports.
First Avenue is a historic venue in Minneapolis and famously featured in the Prince film Purple Rain.
Chappelle caused controversy last year for his latest stand-up special which included jokes about the trans community.
Rolling Stone reports that activists had planned to protest outside the venue on the night of the gig to voice their opposition to him performing at First Avenue.
Chappelle's 2021 special, The Closer, was released on Netflix last October, but was labelled transphobic by many for some of the comments and jokes Chappelle makes about trans people in the show.
The comedian labels himself as part of "team TERF" (trans exclusionary radical feminist) in the special and says that "gender is fact."
This led to some workers at Netflix planning a walkout in protest against the special. There was also anger over the handling of the situation by co-CEO Ted Sarandos and comments he made in memos in which he argued that “content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm."
He later apologised for this, but made clear that he would be keeping the special on the platform without any disclaimer or trigger warning.
Meanwhile Chappelle, who has won five Emmys, claimed he was a victim of cancel culture.
He has since been given handed four new comedy specials with the streaming platform, the first of which is due to be released in February.
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