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Wil Wheaton Pens Powerful Letter Calling Out Just How Much Harm Dave Chappelle's Anti-Trans Jokes Do

Wil Wheaton Pens Powerful Letter Calling Out Just How Much Harm Dave Chappelle's Anti-Trans Jokes Do
Ari Perilstein/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Two months after its premiere on Netflix, people remain angry and hurt by the transphobic content found in Dave Chappelle's latest comedy special.

The controversial special resulted in a walkout in support of Netflix's transgender employees, while plans to rename the theatre at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Chappelle's alma mater, were put in limbo.

Though Chappelle hasn't appeared to be bothered by the controversy surrounding him.

He told the audience at a screening of his documentary, Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary, he "loved" being canceled, and even mocked an audience of high school students during a surprise visit to Duke Ellington School of the Arts, telling them he was "better" than them.

It was perhaps Chappelle's complacency regarding the fallout over the special which led actor and blogger Whil Wheaton to call out just how dangerous Chappelle’s transphobic jokes truly are.

Wheaton took to Facebook and shared just how easily young minds are influenced by entertainment in an honest and powerful post.

WARNING: NSFW language

In the post, Wheaton shared a story of a joke he shared with some men in a locker room after playing hockey, which no one else could find the humor in.

"One night, I'd played a couple hours of pickup with some really great dudes."
"They were friendly, they were funny, they enjoyed the game, they treated me like I was part of their team. They welcomed me."
"After we were finished, we were all in the locker room getting changed into our regular clothes."
'So I'm talking with these guys, and we're all just laughing and having a good time."
"We're doing that sports thing where you talk about the great plays, and feel like you're part of something special."
"And then, without even realizing what I was doing, that awful word came out of my mouth."
"'Blah blah blah [F-word homophobic slur]' I said."
"The room fell silent and that's when I realized every single guy in this room was gay."
"They were from a team called The Blades (amazing) and I had just ... really f*cked up."

Wheaton revealed what led him to make the homophobic joke in the first place was he heard Eddie Murphy use the homophobic slur on a comedy special, leading his 16-year-old self to believe the slur could be used in any funny context.

"A *huge* part of that normalization was through entertainment that dehumanized gay men in the service of 'jokes'."
"And as someone who thought jokes were great, I accepted it."
"I mean, nobody was making fun of *ME* that way, and I was the Main Character, so..."

Wheaton took a moment to reach out to all of the young men he hurt by his homophobic joke, and how learning from his harmful mistake has inspired him to become a better, more compassionate individual.

"I've spent literally my entire life since this happened making amends and doing my best to be the strongest ally I can be."
"I want to do everything I can to prevent another kid from believing the same bigotry I believed, because I was ignorant and privileged."

He also expressed how harmful the jokes in Chappelle's recent Netflix special were, and his exhaustion in how cishet (cisgender, heterosexual) men continue to defend Chappelle.

"...for a transgender person, those 'jokes' normalize hateful, ignorant, bigoted behavior towards them."
"Those 'jokes' contribute to a world where transgender people are constantly under threat of violence, because transgender people have been safely, acceptably, dehumanized."
"Too many of my fellow cishet white men are reducing this to some abstract intellectual exercise, which once again centers our experience at the expense of people who are genuinely threatened by the normalization of their 'less than' or 'outsider' status.

After going viral on several social media platforms, Twitter users commended Wheaton for his honest and thought provoking post.

Though, for all the support Wheaton received, several others vehemently took to Chappelle's defense, with a number making vulgar and tasteless attacks on Wheaton.

This resulted in Wheaton limiting the comments section of his facebook post, with an accompanying note explaining why.

@Wil Wheaton/Facebook

Only further emphasizing Wheaton's point ignorant people truly don't understand the harm their words might cause.

Chappelle has yet to comment on Wheaton's passionate letter, but one hopes he'll give it a read, and possibly be inspired by how Wheaton could so openly and humbly learn from his own past mistakes.