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Dave Chappelle called out for criticism of Michael Jackson accusers in new Netflix special

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[Warning: The following contains references to sexual abuse involving children.]

Dave Chappelle dropped a new comedy special on Netflix this week called Sticks & Stones, and he’s a facing a predictable amount of criticism from people who have taken offense at a few comments he makes in the special about the Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland—and specifically Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse Jackson of sexually abusing them as children. As reported by Pitchfork, Chappelle says he doesn’t believe their accusations for one thing, but if he did believe them, he says, “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?”

He also notes that the reason he doesn’t believe the accusers is that Jackson spent a lot of time with Macaulay Culkin, and yet Culkin denies knowing anything about Jackson allegedly sexually abusing anyone. “Think about that shit,” Chappelle says, “You know… 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.’”

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Robson and Safechuck have now released statements about Chappelle’s jokes, with TMZ reporting that Robson said, simply, “He can say whatever he wants. It reveals him, not us.” Robson’s lawyer also said that it’s “unfortunate” that Chappelle is using his special “to shame sexual abuse victims, and spread his ignorance of sexual abuse and the way it is perpetrated upon children, in an attempt to resurrect his career.” In his statement, Safechuck says, “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,” adding, “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.”

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