Comedian Dave Chappelle assaulted on stage at the Hollywood Bowl

Dave Chappelle introduces Jay-Z during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. October 30, 2021. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/File Photo

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May 4 (Reuters) – American comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Tuesday night by an assailant who tackled him to the ground before being apprehended and arrested, according to video footage verified by Reuters.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson on Wednesday identified the suspect as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, who was being held in jail on $30,000 bail after being charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Lee had a replica weapon containing a knife blade when he attacked Chappelle, the spokesperson said. No hearing was scheduled for Lee, according to online prison records.

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It was not immediately clear whether Chappelle, 48, was injured in the attack, or what prompted it.

Video footage posted to Twitter showed the attacker running onto the stage and throwing his upper body into Chappelle, slamming his shoulder into the comedian’s ribs and chest. After the initial contact, the assailant and Chappelle took several steps before both fell to the ground, it shows. The assailant then got up and ran around the stage, dodging a swarm of people for several seconds before tackling him near the back of the stage.

Chappelle was performing on location with other comedians as part of an 11-day comedy festival called “Netflix is ​​a joke.”

The attack came just over a month after actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars, an unprecedented incident at the globally televised event that sparked concerns that performers could face copycat aggression. Read more

Smith, who won Best Actor, was then banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years. The actor released statements apologizing to Rock, Oscar producers, nominees and viewers after the incident.

A Hollywood Bowl representative told Reuters the incident was under investigation, declining to comment further. An agent and public relations representative for Chappelle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to an ABC report, Rock, who had performed there earlier in the evening, joined Chappelle on stage moments after it took place and quipped, “Was that Will Smith?”

Video footage obtained by Reuters shows the suspect on a stretcher placed in an ambulance. He was taken to hospital with minor injuries, NBC Los Angeles quoted police as saying.

Brianna Sacks, a reporter for BuzzFeed News who attended the event, said the altercation took place as Chappelle was wrapping up her performance.

Chappelle’s Netflix comedy special “The Closer” was criticized last year by some who saw it as ridiculing transgender people. The comedian’s supporters saw it as a cry against so-called cancel culture. Read more

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Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shivam Patel; Editing by Nick Macfie, Will Dunham and John Stonestreet

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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