WASHINGTON — Just three weeks after Netflix added "Chappelle's Show" to its comedy lineup, heralding the announcement as the "best news you've heard all year," the streaming giant has pulled the series down at the request of Dave Chappelle.
Chappelle revealed the news in an Instagram video on Tuesday featuring footage from a recent stand-up show. During his performance, Chappelle explained that he "never got paid" after leaving the ViacomCBS-owned show.
“They (ViacomCBS) didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract,” Chappelle said in the video. “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. 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.”
The show aired on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006 before Chappelle abruptly walked away. It has aired in reruns since then.
While hosting the "Saturday Night Live" episode after the election, Chappelle called out Netflix and HBO Max for streaming his show without paying him "for any of it." People reported it was the first time the show would be available on a streaming service.
Chappelle has made several recent specials with Netflix.
During his stand-up performance, Chappelle credited Netflix for going above and beyond by taking down the series after he reached out about the situation. The comedian also talked about how he's thought about coming back to do another "Chappelle's Show" series, but he can't because his name and likeness was part of the original contract with ViacomCBS.
Chappelle then called on his fans to stop watching the hit series until he gets paid for it.
"I'm begging you - if you ever liked me, if you ever think there was something worthwhile about me...I'm begging you, please don't watch that show. I'm not asking you to boycott any network, boycott me, boycott 'Chappelle's Show,' do not watch it unless they pay me," Chappelle said.