Alleged Chappelle Assailant Says He is Bisexual, was 'Triggered' by Material

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 24, 2022

Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle  (Source:AP Photo/David Richard, File)

After a man named Isaiah Lee charged him onstage, comedian Dave Chappelle tossed off a joke that Lee was "a trans man." In fact, Lee says, he's bisexual — and a sexual abuse survivor who was "triggered" by the show, NBC News reported.

In an interview with the New York Post Lee said that though he took umbrage at jokes Chappelle made during the show, it was another comic's material, which included a joke about a pedophile, that "dredged up memories of his own molestation as a teen" and triggered him.

Lee charged at Chappelle after the comedian "started talking about controversies stemming from jokes he has made about transgender people and about homelessness," NBC News detailed.

Lee told the New York Post that he is "a single dad" with a young son, and he has known homelessness firsthand.

"It's a struggle, and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it's not a joke," Lee told the Post. He also said, "I identify as bisexual," and he "wanted him to know what he said was triggering."

The Post noted that although Lee is not facing felony charges in the Chappelle case (he has been charged with four misdemeanor counts, and has pleaded not guilty to all of them), the dustup "led to more criminal charges against Lee" when, after the story broke, his roommate "identified Lee as his alleged attacker" in a stabbing incident last year.

Lee said those additional charges leave him facing "possibly 15 or more years in jail," but, the Post item added, Lee "doesn't regret what happened because he saw it as an opportunity to speak out about homelessness, LGBTQ rights and child sex abuse, topics that often serve as fodder for comedians."

Reports noted that Lee's arm was broken as he was being detained in the incident with Chappelle. According to Lee, "They spat on me and twisted me as if on purpose."

The AP noted in an early report that Lee charged Chappelle as he was coming to the end of a routine "in which he talked about how comedians have to worry more about their personal security in the wake of this year's Academy Awards ceremony where the Oscar-winning actor [Will Smith] slapped [host Chris] Rock on live television in reaction to a joke about his wife."

"'The comedian had literally just said he now has more security because of all the uproar from his jokes about the Trans community,' tweeted Buzzfeed News reporter Brianna Sacks, who attended the show," the AP added. Sacks tweeted that "while the attacker was getting beat up," Chappelle "made a joke about him probably being a Trans man."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.