Charlie Buttrey

May 15, 2024

A couple years ago, a man attacked the comedian Dave Chappelle when he was on stage at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the Netflix is a Joke Special. The man, 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, was in possession of a replica handgun with a knife blade. Lee was tackled, arrested and charged with four misdemeanor offenses. He ended up pleading no contest, and was given a sentence of 270 days in jail.

So Lee is now doing what any right-minded American would do under the circumstances.

He’s suing.

Lee alleges that the security staff used excessive force in removing him from the stage, resulting in a dislocation to his arm. Lee’s attorney also maintains that the Hollywood Bowl and the unidentified “Doe” security companies were aware of Chappelle’s history of making offensive jokes that target the LGBTQ+ community, as well as his “propensity for making discriminatory remarks,” but “took no measures to prevent or mitigate the potential harm caused by such offensive material.” Lee, who identifies as bisexual, claims that he “became upset by the discriminatory nature of the comedian’s jokes and rushed the stage in protest as the show ended.” The lawsuit goes on to claim that “Instead of intervening to protect Lee, [the defendants] allowed members of the comedian’s entourage, encouraged by the comedian, to beat Lee.”

This is not the sort of case that would make it through my screening process. And Lee’s legal troubles won’t come to an end once this case is resolved in any event.

Lee is also awaiting trial on a separate matter, this an attempted murder charge for allegedly stabbing his roommate in 2021.


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