Washington [US], November 29 (ANI): American stand up comedian Dave Chappelle has told his critics to put their money where their mouth is and donate to his former high school in order to stop a theatre from being named after him.
According to Fox News, Chappelle has been steeped in controversy since September when comments he made about the transgender community landed him in the crosshairs of critics and activists alike.
Now, the comedian is hoping to use the debate surrounding his name as a way to raise funds for Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown, where he attended high school.
Chappelle was due for an appearance at the school to commemorate a theatre being named in his honour. While he did pay a visit to the school before Thanksgiving, the theatre naming was postponed to April amid backlash to give administrators a chance to open a proper dialogue with students.
However, the comedian took to Instagram over the weekend to give his critics a path to stop him from receiving the honour altogether rather than just talk about it. "Talk is cheap (Unless I do it)," he began the post.
"Having the theatre named after me is a great honour. Although, that was not my idea, aim or desire. At the request of our beloved school's founder Peggy Cooper Cafritz, I accepted. In April, I intend to honour that request. If you object to my receiving this honour, I urge you to donate to the school, noting your objection. If you are in favour of the theatre being named, 'Chappelle,' I urge you to donate to the school, noting your approval," he continued.
Chappelle stated that he will "gladly step aside" if his critics donate a higher dollar value to the school than those who approve or are neutral.
"If not, I will happily attend the naming ceremony. And if you don't care enough to donate... please shut the f--- up, forever," he concluded.
The student body of the Duke Ellington school was clearly split over opinions on Chappelle in the wake of 'The Closer.' When he did show up for a Q&A with students ahead of the holiday, some were quick to discuss the transphobia allegations head-on.
"I'm 16 and I think you're childish, you handled it like a child," a student said, adding that Chappelle is a "bigot."
"My friend, with all due respect, I don't believe you could make one of the decisions I have to make on a given day," The comedian responded, reported Fox News.
Chappelle also reportedly noted that he was unhappy to hear that some students were receiving threats over their decision to protest him.
Earlier in his post, Chappelle sang the praises of the school and credited it for the success he found later in life.
He wrote, "The Duke Ellington school is a glorious institution. Within those walls I found a context to explore my creativity seriously. Duke Ellington, in large part, prepared me to undertake this noble and difficult profession. It was a fine institution before any of its current occupants got there. God willing, it will be a fine institution long after their tenure is done. My only intent is to insure Duke Ellington the opportunity to train it's artists, unfettered." (ANI)