Chappelle Attacker Says Comedian’s Jokes ‘Triggered’ Assault

By John Bauld from Toronto, Canada - Dave Chappelle, CC BY 2.0,

The man accused of attacking Dave Chappelle during a live performance at the Hollywood Bowl claims that the comedian’s jokes “triggered” him.

Isaiah Lee, who spoke with the New York Post from behind bars, said Chappelle’s cracks about homelessness and the LGBTQ community inspired the assault. 

“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee explained. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”

Lee was particularly upset because he was at one time homeless. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke,” he added. 

He explained that it wasn’t even one of Chappelle’s quips that caused him to snap. Another comedian prior to Chappelle made a joke about pedophilia, which reminded him of when he was molested in foster care at 17.

He said that after he was violently subdued by security, Chappelle asked him what provoked the attack backstage. “I told him my mother and grandmother, who fought for his civil rights to be able to speak, would be upset at the things he said,” Lee commented.

He claimed that Chappelle told him that his story would die with him, “But he’s wrong,” Lee remarked. “I’m sitting here talking to you about it.”

The comedian’s attacker, who was armed with a retractable knife in a replica gun, was charged with four misdemeanors stemming from the onstage tackle, after Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón refused to file felony charges.

The national spotlight has not done Lee any favors. He was charged with one count of attempted murder for stabbing his roommate at a transitional housing facility last year after his victim recognized him from the media circus surrounding the Chappelle attack. 

“The publicity generated by the attack on Mr. Chappelle helped police solve this crime,” Gascón said on Thursday. “The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl was misdemeanor conduct and rightfully referred to the City Attorney’s Office. Based on the nature and severity of the December attack, Mr. Lee is now facing felony charges which my office will prosecute.”

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