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Dave Chappelle attacked onstage by armed man while performing at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl

Comedian Dave Chappelle attacked during show
Comedian Dave Chappelle attacked during performance 01:50

Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage by an armed man Tuesday night as he performed at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl arena, with videos from audience members' cellphones quickly flooding social media and showing a man appear to run onto the stage and tackle the comic. The Los Angeles Police Department said the 23-year-old man pointed a weapon, later determined to be a replica handgun that contained a knife blade, at Chappelle. 

Weapon obtained by LAPD LAPD

The suspect, identified as Isaiah Lee of Los Angeles, was arrested and accused of assault with a deadly weapon.

Chappelle was not injured in the attack.

Following the incident, Lee was transported to the hospital "for medical treatment for injuries" before being taken to the police station and arrested. Lee is being held on a $30,000 bail. 

Chappelle's representative, Carla Sims, said in a statement that "Chappelle is fully cooperating with the active police investigation into this incident."

A man is transported into an ambulance after comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage, in Los Angeles
A man is transported into an ambulance after comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage during stand-up Netflix show at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles, May 3, 2022, in this still image obtained from a social media video. Theodore Nwajei/via REUTERS

"The performances by Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl were epic and record-breaking and he refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment," Sims said.

Chappelle, whose unapologetic humor has made him a lightning rod for criticism, appeared unscathed by the sudden interruption and later joked (Note: Linked video contains harsh language including profanity) with fellow comedian and actor Jamie Foxx onstage that he'd taken revenge on his attacker.

Videos posted to Twitter appeared to show the person who charged Chappelle being detained outside the venue by police and then loaded into an ambulance with visible injuries. Witnesses said — and videos appeared to show — that the man was set upon by multiple people onstage immediately after he attacked Chappelle. 

While the entire debacle was captured in multiple videos shot by members of the audience, cellphone use was officially banned during the performance.

The motivation for the initial attack remained unclear.

Chappelle was onstage performing as part of the "Netflix Is a Joke" comedy festival, sponsored by the streaming giant. 

"We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. 

Comedian Chris Rock was at the show, and jokingly asked if the attacker was Will Smith — who made headlines by bounding up onstage and slapping Rock at the Academy Awards in March.

Chappelle drew a sharp rebuke late last year from the transgender community for jokes at their expense featured in his latest Netflix special, "The Closer," which premiered in October.

Netflix stood by the Washington, D.C., native, continuing to air the special despite hundreds of its own employees staging a walkout over what they deemed Chappelle's transphobic jokes.

The comic later said he'd be happy to meet with any member of the transgender community, but that he would not be swayed by "anyone's demands" to censor his routine.

Transgender Netflix employees and allies plan walkout over David Chappelle's new special 17:18

"To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody's demands," he told an audience in a clip posted to his Instagram

The 48-year-old comedian listed three conditions for any potential meeting, and responded to fellow comedian Hannah Gadsby, who labelled Chapelle's Netflix special "hate speech."

"If you wanna meet with me, I'd be more than willing to, but I have conditions: First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end. You must come to a place of my choosing and a time of my choosing. And thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny."

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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