First there was the Slap; now there’s the Tackle. Dave Chappelle was rushed onstage at a performance for the Netflix Is a Joke Festival at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, multiple news outlets and fan videos have confirmed. NBC Los Angeles reported that police said the suspect was armed with a replica gun that could discharge a knife. The suspect was taken to the hospital with injuries after being stopped by venue security. The Tackle happened during Chappelle’s encore, and per BuzzFeed News, at least ten people stopped the attacker and beat him up in the corner of the stage. The attacker’s arm appeared to be bent backward in a video of him being taken into an ambulance. Chappelle was not injured, per the reports, and the Hollywood Bowl is investigating the incident.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that it will not pursue felony charges against the alleged attacker, later identified as Isaiah Lee. The 23-year-old will be charged with four counts of misdemeanor: single misdemeanor counts of 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. City Attorney Mike Feuer confirmed the charges in a video statement on Thursday. On Wednesday, Chappelle’s spokesperson issued a statement on the attack, saying Chappelle “refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.”
In a video filmed shortly after the attack, Chappelle is heard saying onstage, “It was a trans man,” prompting laughs from the audience. That was a response to the backlash to Chappelle’s last Netflix special, The Closer, in which the comedian makes transphobic jokes at length. The special prompted a walkout from Netflix staff, and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos eventually said he should’ve “led with humanity” when defending the content to staff. During his set at the festival, Chappelle reportedly talked about upping his security after the backlash.
Chris Rock, who also performed earlier in the night, came onstage during Chappelle’s encore to ask, “Was that Will Smith?” Jamie Foxx also came onstage during the encore. “I thought that was part of the show, I didn’t know what the fuck,” he told Chappelle. The comedian responded, “I’ve been doing this for 35 years. I just stomped a n - - - - backstage. I’ve always wanted to do that.”
This post has been updated throughout.