Netflix has removed "Chappelle's Show" off its streaming platform at the request of series creator and star Dave Chappelle, who is speaking out against series owner ViacomCBS for licensing the Comedy Central hit without paying him. Deadline confirmed the removal. Netflix licensed "Chappelle's Show" on a non-exclusive basis (the show also streams on HBO Max and ViacomCBS platforms like CBS All Access) and started streaming all three seasons of the program November 1. As Deadline notes: "Companies that license a program pay the seller who, in turn, has to compensate the creatives on the show."
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Chappelle posted a video to his Instagram page titled "Unforgiven" in which he explained his explained the reasons for pulling "Chappelle's Show" from Netflix after not being paid by ViacomCBS. The video was filmed during a recent standup set.
"People think I made a lot of money from 'Chappelle's Show,'" Chappelle says in the video. "When I left that show I never got paid. [ViacomCBS] didn't have to pay me because I signed the contract. 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 because I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn't think so either."
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"That's why I like working for Netflix," Chappelle continues, nodding to Netflix specials such as "Sticks and Stones." "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."
Chappelle says in the video that Netflix "paid me my money, they do what they say they're going to do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a businessman. They did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong. And I do — I think that if you are fucking streaming that show you're fencing stolen goods."
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The comedian concluded by telling his fans to boycott his show on streaming platforms. "I'm coming to you. I'm begging you — if you ever liked me, if you ever think there was anything worthwhile about me, I'm begging you, please don't watch that show," Chappelle says in the video. "I'm not asking you to boycott any network — boycott me. Boycott 'Chappelle's Show.' Do not watch it unless they pay me."