First Avenue, the iconic concert venue in Minneapolis, ignited a firestorm of controversy late Wednesday for abruptly canceling a Dave Chappelle comedy show just hours before it was set to begin.
Trans activists have targeted Chappelle for several years over his refusal to have his jokes and language policed by their woke standards.
About three hours before Chappelle’s show, First Avenue officials canceled it and moved it to a different theater — Varsity Theater — about 2.5 miles away in a decision described as “totalitarian censorship and [a] hatred of free expression.”
In a statement, First Avenue acknowledged its woke transgression and promised to ensure its property is a safe space.
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 Avenue is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls.
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.
Ironically, First Avenue also claimed to value “diverse voices” and “the freedom of artistic expression” — claims diametrically opposed to canceling an artist because some people are merely offended.
“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 will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback,” First Avenue said.
According to Rolling Stone, First Avenue staffers had complained to management about Chappelle, even threatening to call out of work on the night of Chappelle’s show.
The decision to appease the woke outrage mob is ironic and shows the theater was listening to a minority number of voices.
In fact, Chappelle had sold out the show at First Avenue, and the demand to see the iconic comedian was so great that two additional shows were added at the Varsity Theater for Thursday and Friday.
Still, the decision to cancel Chappelle and move him to a different theater did not deter protesters — about 50, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune — who gathered outside the Varsity Theater.
Chappelle has not publicly responded to the incident. His shows are phone-free.