The initial controversy began on Friday after Oswalt posted a photo with Chapelle, writing about how Chapelle invited him to perform a guest set on New Year’s Eve.
“I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago,” Oswalt wrote.
The Instagram photo was soon slammed with people slamming Oswalt due to the backlash Chapelle received over his Netflix special “The Closer” from people in the transgender community. Chappelle has been called a “transphobe” for his past comments about “gender is a fact” and declaring himself “team TERF.”
One day after his original post, Oswalt published a lengthy explanation for the photo. While he defended his friendship with Chapelle, he also emphasized that they “100% disagree about transgender rights & representation.”
“But we also 100% disagree about transgender rights & representation. I support trans peoples’ rights — ANYONE’S rights — to live safely in the world as their fullest selves. For all the things he’s helped ME evolve on, I’ll always disagree with where he stands NOW on transgender issues. But I also don’t believe a seeker like him is done evolving, learning,” Oswalt wrote.
He also apologized extensively for the original post and vowed for some “growth” through this process.
While the second post continued to receive backlash from progressive followers, others mocked Oswalt for appearing to distance himself from Chapelle in an effort to appease the liberal mob.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Publicly denouncing a life-long friend over political differences in order to satiate an angry mob of strangers is gross enough, but — as was totally predictable — this pitiful penitence meant the mob smelled blood in the water, and they attacked more for it not being enough.”
“We live in a time of fear and self-abasement,” National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote.
Conservative radio host Larry Elder described it as “the intolerance of the tolerant.”
Chapelle has repeatedly faced backlash for his comments and even inspired several Netflix employees to walk out of their jobs in protest. Despite this, Chapelle and Netflix confirmed last month that he will appear in a new 11-day stand-up comedy festival hosted by the streaming platform.