Man charged with battery after Dave Chappelle attacked by 'gun-wielding' protester on stage

6 May 2022, 09:54

A man has been charged with four counts of misdemeanour after comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked
A man has been charged with four counts of misdemeanour after comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Megan Hinton

A man has been charged with four counts of misdemeanour after comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Los Angeles City Attorney's Office confirmed they have now charged Isaiah Lee, 23, with battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorised access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.

Chappelle, 48, was performing at the Los Angeles venue on Tuesday night as part of the Netflix Is A Joke festival when he was "tackled" by a man who rushed on to the stage.

The Los Angeles Police Department later arrested 23-year-old Lee, who was carrying a replica gun containing a knife blade, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

A spokesman for the Attorney's Office said: "The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has referred the case to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office for misdemeanour filing consideration.

"After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct.

"The District Attorney's Office does not prosecute misdemeanour crimes within the city of Los Angeles."

In the US, crimes classified as felonies are considered more serious and carry a more severe penalty while misdemeanours are considered less serious, although they can still result in fines or jail terms.

Read more: Tory MP caught out after blundering Asda own brand answer

Video posted on social media appeared to show a man, reported by US media outlets to be the suspected attacker, with a badly injured arm being put in an ambulance.

Chappelle previously faced a backlash over comments about transgender people in his Netflix comedy special The Closer.

The comedian said "gender is a fact" and shared his backing for JK Rowling, who has also attracted criticism for her remarks about the concept of biological sex.

Chappelle "refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment"
Chappelle "refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment". Picture: Alamy

In a video statement posted to Twitter, City Attorney Mike Feuer - a candidate for Los Angeles mayor - said: "This alleged attack has got to have consequences.

"My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously and we are going to vigorously prosecute this case."

It comes after the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said prosecutors had concluded that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence did not constitute felony conduct.

Read more: Johnny Depp 'sexually assaulted Amber Heard and attacked her with vodka bottle'

Chappelle later released a statement through his spokesperson noting that his four-night run at the Hollywood Bowl ties him with Monty Python for the most headlined shows of any comedian at the famous venue.

The statement added that Chappelle "refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment".

Videos show Dave Chappelle being attacked on stage
Videos show Dave Chappelle being attacked on stage. Picture: Sean Azari / Rebhorn

Speaking on US chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live, fellow comedian Kevin Hart commended Chappelle for dealing with the attack and continuing his performance.

Kevin Hart, 42, told Mike Birbiglia - who is standing in for Jimmy Kimmel while he has Covid: "Dave went back after that and finished doing the show. Didn't let that thing be a big thing.

"Quickly moved on from it and got back to doing comedy, and that's what a professional does.

"Ultimately, these moments of improfessionalism should not break professionals."

Read more: Baby P's killer mum Tracey Connelly to be freed after Parole Board rejects govt challenge

Hart also called for greater respect for comedians and live acts, saying: "It's time to get back to a place of respect for your live entertainer."

The Jumanji actor said: "Somebody getting their ass whipped sends a message out to other people that was like, 'You know, I was thinking about doing that, but seeing that, I don't really want to do that'.

"I think that the world that we're in right now, there's a lot of lines that have gotten blurred, and sometimes you got to take a couple steps backwards to take some steps forwards."