Published Aug 28, 2019Dave Chappelle has drawn criticism for a bit in his latest Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, in which he declares that he doesn't believe the accusations made against Michael Jackson in Leaving Neverland.
At one point in the stand-up special, Chappelle states: "I don't believe these motherfuckers. I don't believe them."
He goes on to further discount Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who claim that Jackson sexually abused them as children at the Neverland Ranch.
"I don't think he did it. But you know what? Even if he did do it...." Chappelle says. "You know what I mean? I mean, it's Michael Jackson. I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives. But it wasn't no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it? This kid got his dick sucked by the King of Pop. All we get is awkward Thanksgivings for the rest of our lives."
The comedian continues the bit, arguing that Robson and Safechuck's claims must be false because Macaulay Culkin has denied that Jackson ever acted inappropriately towards him.
"You know why I don't believe it? Because if Michael Jackson's out here doing all this molesting, then why not Macaulay Culkin? Hmm?" Chappelle says. "Macaulay Culkin stated in an interview that Michael Jackson never did anything inappropriate with him or even around him. Think about that shit. I'm not a pedophile. But if I was, Macaulay Culkin's the first kid I'm fucking, I'll tell you that right now. I'd be a goddamn hero. 'Hey, that guy over there fucked the kid from Home Alone. And you know hard he is to catch.'"
Robson and Safechuck have since responded to Chappelle's Sticks & Stones material.
"He can say whatever he wants," Robson told TMZ. "It reveals him, not us."
Safechuck, meanwhile, told TMZ: "I'm heartbroken for all those children who look to see how they will be received when they finally find the courage to speak out about their sexual abuse. I just want to reach out to other survivors and let them know that we can't let this type of behavior silence us. Together we are strong."
The "joke" is the latest in a string of controversial comments Chappelle has made in his stand-up. In addition to sympathizing with Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, Chappelle has been accused of transphobia in most of his recent Netflix specials, as well as homophobia offstage.
Nevertheless, he is slated to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor later this year.
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones arrived on Netflix on August 26.