The man who was escorted out of Dave Chappelle’s comedy set for throwing a banana peel at him has filed a lawsuit against the legendary comedian.
The Associated Press reports Christian Englander filed the suit Tuesday (Apr. 3), claiming a man “presumed to be Chappelle’s bodyguard” hit him two times while restraining him. Backing up a bit, the incident happened in 2015 during Chappelle’s show in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Englander, who describes himself as a “performance artist,” threw a banana peel at the comedian during the set.
Englander attempted to flee but was apprehended by Chappelle’s bodyguard and arrested. He was then charged with battery and disorderly conduct. They were later dropped as Chappelle refused to respond to prosecutors’ attempts to contact him. Instead of going to court over the incident, the 44-year-old used it as material in one of his critically-acclaimed Netflix specials.
In his special Deep in the Heart of Texas, the father of three describes the incident as “banana-gate”. Chappelle wittingly jokes that of course the peel was thrown by a white man and also offers his reaction to the press contacting him the next day over the peel. “The press called me up, ‘Do you have a statement?’ A statement! For a [expletive] banana peel? No! I don’t have anything to say,” he said into the crowd.
Englander claims when he threw the banana peel at Chappelle, there were no racial implications. He says it was a joke because Chappelle “made racists comments to his friend” who was sketching in a book during the set.
Englander says Chappelle’s use of the incident in said comedy special left him “ostracized from town.” According to a 2017 Facebook post found by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Englander claims Chappelle’s “racially charged” reaction left him voiceless to explain himself.
“Unfortunately for me, Chappelle’s racially charged reaction spun the headlines before I was even given the opportunity to tell my side of the story,” he wrote in the post.