Dave Chappelle attacked onstage during performance at Hollywood Bowl
Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage on Tuesday night by a man who ran up and tackled the stand-up comedian during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
In video posted to social media, a man can be seen running onto the stage before leveling Chappelle as security officers race to intervene.
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the incident, telling NBC Los Angeles that man was armed with a replica gun that could eject a real knife blade when discharged correctly. It was unclear if he made an attempt to use the weapon.
The suspect, identified as Isaiah Lee, 23, has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, an LAPD spokesperson said Wednesday. Lee’s bail is set at $30,000.
The LAPD said Lee was in the audience, then jumped onstage and attacked Chappelle just as he was about to leave. The comedian was performing during the fourth night of the “Dave Chappelle and Friends” show, which was part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival.
Security guards hired for the show intervened and pulled the suspect off the comedian, before detaining him, police said. They said Lee sustained superficial injuries during the altercation and was taken to a hospital.
Chappelle was not injured in the attack, they said.
In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson condemned the attack.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
In a statement, Chappelle’s spokesperson said: “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.”
Brianna Sacks, a BuzzFeed News reporter who attended the show and witnessed the altercation, told NBC News she was left stunned after the suspect “charged and tackled Chappelle.”
She said both uniformed security workers and people in plainclothes appeared to rush to Chappelle’s aid and started “kicking and punching” the suspect in an assault that went on for several minutes.
She said Chappelle later continued the show, joking about the altercation. “It was a trans man,” he remarked, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (The gender identity of the attacker was not immediately known.)
But the incident appeared to have left some audience members in shock. “We all kind of stood there frozen,” Sacks said.
One social media user who attended the event, Jed Simon, applauded Chappelle for returning to the stage, calling him a “great sport.”
Sharing video of Chapelle’s return as fans cheered, he said actor Jamie Foxx had also ran up on stage from his seat during the incident.
Sacks said Chapelle referred to how he has had to ramp up his security after facing widespread backlash for his jokes about the transgender community.
In video shared by Sacks, a suspect can be seen being loaded into an ambulance via a stretcher as onlookers jeer.
Sacks said she saw the suspect being loaded into an ambulance after the show. She said he appeared to have been badly beaten.
Sacks compared the incident to comedian Chris Rock being slapped onstage by actor Will Smith at the Oscars on March 27. Rock also performed at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday and joked about the incident before Chappelle was tackled, Sacks said.
She said Rock also came onstage after the attack on Chappelle and joked about the suspect “maybe being Will Smith. You know, they were like, ‘Is that Will Smith?'”
“I think it just shows, like, the reality for comedians right now,” Sack said.
Celebrities have already begun to weigh in on the incident, with comedian Tony Baker saying in tweet early Wednesday “that’s what he gets” over the suspect sustaining injuries in the altercation.
“This attacking people on stage ain’t gon fly,” he said.
Representatives for Chappelle and the Hollywood Bowl did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News.
Phil Helsel, Kurt Chirbas, Daniel Arkin and Diana Dasrath contributed.