On November 1st, Chappelle’s Show was added to Netflix’s library. Now, less than a month later, it’s been removed from the platform — at the request of Dave Chappelle himself. In a lengthy Instagram video, the comedian claimed that he hasn’t been properly paid for his work on the iconic sketch series, and that he was never consulted about Netflix’s streaming deal.
In the 18-minute clip titled “Unforgiven”, Chappelle asserted that he “never got paid” after departing Chappelle’s Show. The 47-year-old comedian also alleged that ViacomCBS, the company which owns the show, never reached out to him regarding licensing the series to Netflix.
“They [ViacomCBS] didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract,” Chappelle said in the video, which compiles footage from recent stand-up gigs. “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.”
ViacomCBS may be on Chappelle’s bad side, but the same can’t be said for Netflix, where he’s produced a number of specials over the years. He said that, unlike ViacomCBS, Netflix actually listens to and values him:
“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. 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.”
Netflix has yet to officially comment on the Chappelle’s Show’s removal, but it appears the streamer is prioritizing its future relationship with the comedian over re-runs of a 15-year-old TV show.
Chappelle first alluded to his dissatisfaction over Chappelle’s Show streaming rights during his monologue on SNL earlier this month. He drew parallels between himself and his great-grandfather, a former slave, to illustrate his point: “If he could see me now, he’d probably be like, ‘This n—- got bought and sold more than I have.”
Chappelle’s Show is still available on Comedy Central and CBS All Access, as well as on Netflix’s streaming competitor HBO Max, where it was recently licensed. Chappelle created, executive produced, and headlined the series, which ran for three seasons between 2003 and 2006.
Check out the full “Unforgiven” video below.