Comedian Dave Chappelle requested that Netflix remove his Comedy Central series, Chappelle’s Show, due to the fact that ViacomCBS licensed the series without ever paying him. The show, which aired from 2003 to 2006, was added to Netflix’s streaming selection on November 1, and was taken down upon Chappelle’s request early Tuesday morning.
This morning, Chappelle took to Instagram to post an 18-minute video titled Unforgiven, in which he breaks down the payment dispute and reveals his shock in discovering that Netflix, a longtime collaborator of his, was streaming the show.
“People think I made a lot of money from Chappelle’s Show,” Chappelle says in the video, “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.”
In 2016, Chappelle inked a $20-million-per-release deal with Netflix, and has since released six stand-up specials with the streaming giant. Netflix’s announcement that it would be streaming Chappelle’s Show came as a surprise to Chappelle himself, who hosted SNL earlier this month and urged the public to boycott the show, as he was not being paid for his work on it.
Erik Voake/Getty Images
Chappelle continued in the video, “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.”
Netflix’s compliance in removing the show was a victory for Chappelle, however the show still remains available for streaming on ViacomCBS’s Comedy Central, CBS All Access outlets, and HBOMax.