Dave Chappelle’s controversial new Netflix standup special “The Closer” has a very high audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes despite calls from activists to remove the piece of content from the streamer’s library.
The comedian, 48, is being criticized by many in the LGBTQ+ community for comments he made about transgender people. Despite many like Netflix’s own “Dear White People” showrunner Jaclyn Moore coming out strong against the special, Chappelle himself has been able to laugh off the backlash, even getting a standing ovation during an appearance at the Hollywood Bowl last week.
While much of the talk surrounding “The Closer” has to do with comments many have deemed to be transphobic, it seems hundreds of people have flocked to the popular film and TV critical aggregator to share their positive thoughts on the special. Currently, even amid the backlash, more than 1,000 ratings collected by the site have given it a 96% audience score.
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It’s worth noting, though, that these numbers can often change as more reviews pour in over time. In addition, because the special appears on Netflix, none of the reviews are “verified” by the site, meaning that Rotten Tomatoes can’t verify that those posting have actually seen “The Closer.”
In the past, The Verge reports that the company dealt with people bombarding certain projects with reviews that have less to do with the content of the project and more to do with the political or cultural discussion that it has sparked in the media. The bombardment from critics or fans is designed to artificially inflate or deflate the score of a project amid any controversy. The outlet cites projects like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” as examples.
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With so much debate behind it, it’s possible “The Closer” currently has a high score based on people reacting to the controversy sparked by a handful of jokes on the special rather than the piece of content as a whole. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the score will go down or that people don’t genuinely love “The Closer.”
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In 2019, Chappelle received similar rebukes from the transgender community over comments he made in his previous Netflix comedy special, “Sticks & Stones.” However, that special currently has a 99% audience score with more than 25,000 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.