All three seasons of Comedy Central’s hit Chappelle’s Show were added to Netflix at the beginning of this month, which seemed like a natural move following the comedian’s long-running partnership with the streaming service. However, this Tuesday the 24th, the company has officially removed the series from its library after a request from Dave Chappelle himself.
During his opening monologue for his recent Saturday Night Live appearance, Chappelle revealed that he’s not been paid a cent by ViacomCBS for their licensing deals for Chappelle’s Show and now, he’s done something about it. This morning, Chappelle shared an 18-minute video on Instagram, filmed during a recent stand-up set, which he titled Unforgiven. In it, he says that he asked Netflix to take down the show. Deadline reached out to the streamer for comment, to which a representative confirmed the exchange and that they’d removed the title overnight.
They’d licensed Chappelle’s Show on a non-exclusive deal, so it can still be found on Comedy Central and CBS All Access, and it was recently licensed by HBO Max as well. How it should work is that companies pay the seller to license their titles, while the sellers then pay the creatives in turn. However, as Chappelle explains in his Instagram post, he hasn’t been paid by ViacomCBS due to contracts they made him sign back in the day.
In his stand-up set, Chappelle opens up about why he trusts Netflix and why he was upset to find out that they were streaming Chappelle’s Show – which originally aired from 2003-2006 – without his consent.
“People think I made a lot of money from Chappelle’s Show,” Chappelle says. “When I left that show I never got paid. They (ViacomCBS) didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract. But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal ‘cause I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either. That’s why I like working for Netflix. I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn’t even exist. And when I found out they were streaming Chappelle’s Show, I was furious. How could they not– how could they not know? So you know what I did? I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better. That’s why I f*ck with Netflix. Because they paid me my money, they do what they say they’re going to do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a businessman. They did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong. And I do — I think that if you are f*cking streaming that show you’re fencing stolen goods.”
In the video, Chappelle repeats his appeal he made on SNL, encouraging fans to boycott watching Chappelle’s Show on any streaming service until he receives the fees he feels he’s owed.
“So I’m not going to the agents, I’m coming to my real boss — I’m coming to you. I’m begging you — if you ever liked me, if you ever think there was anything worthwhile about me, I’m begging you, please don’t watch that show. I’m not asking you to boycott any network — boycott me. Boycott Chappelle’s Show. Do not watch it unless they pay me.”
To be clear, the comedian’s deal with Netflix, which has lasted for the past four years, is still going strong and Chappelle’s Show is the only one of his titles that’s being removed from the site. The various stand-up specials he’s made for the company remain available to stream.