Comedian Dave Chappelle attacked onstage at Netflix show in Los Angeles

The alleged attacker had a gun-shaped knife, police sources said.

May 05, 2022, 7:58 PM

Los Angeles County prosecutors have decided not to charge the suspect who rushed and tackled comedian Dave Chappelle on stage with felonies, however, Isaiah Lee faces some misdemeanors for his alleged actions.

Chappelle, 48, and Lee, 23, appeared to tussle on the stage floor during the Netflix Is A Joke Fest at the Hollywood Bowl Tuesday night. The suspect ran away behind a screen on stage before security caught up and caught him, investigators said.

Chappelle appeared to run toward the altercation, saying the individual was being "stomped." He asked repeatedly for security to remove the person from the stage. While the suspect was being subdued by security, Chappelle joked to the audience that the person was "a trans man." The comedian has been criticized for his remarks about the transgender community, and there was backlash last year against his hourlong Netflix special "The Closer," during which he said that "gender is a fact."

PHOTO: A man is transported into an ambulance at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles, May 3, 2022.
A man is transported into an ambulance at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles, May 3, 2022.
Theodore Nwajei via Reuters

Lee was arrested and booked at the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood station early Wednesday. He was initially held on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and his bail was set at $30,000, according to police.

Police sources told ABC News that the suspect had a gun-shaped knife in his possession when he was taken into custody.

LA County prosecutors decided not to move forward with felony assault with deadly weapon charges because Lee was not brandishing the knife that looked like the gun, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News. Lee had the weapon with him in a bag, sources said.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer issued a video statement Thursday announcing that his office charged Lee with four misdemeanor counts, battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays the event or interferes with the performer.

"This alleged attack has got to have consequences," Feuer said.

Attorney information for Lee wasn't immediately available.

"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," Carla Sims, Chappelle's representative, said in a statement.

Video circulating online and verified by ABC News showed the chaotic scene outside the Hollywood Bowl after the show, as police and medics loaded a person into an ambulance who was restrained and appeared to be the suspect.

The incident occurred toward the end of the sixth night of the 11-day Netflix Is A Joke Fest, which runs until May 8 and features more than 130 performers at various venues across Los Angeles.

PHOTO: Comedian Dave Chappelle attends the opening night party presented by Netflix Is A Joke Fest at W Hollywood in Hollywood, California, on April 28, 2022.
Comedian Dave Chappelle attends the opening night party presented by Netflix Is A Joke Fest at W Hollywood in Hollywood, California, on April 28, 2022.
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Netflix

"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," Netflix said in a statement to ABC News.

Comedian Chris Rock, who performed earlier in the night, came on stage with Chappelle moments after the attack and joked: "Was that Will Smith?"

Last month at the 94th Academy Awards, actor Will Smith walked on stage and slapped Rock across the face after the comedian made a joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, during his presentation for Best Documentary Feature. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors has since banned Smith from attending any academy event or program, including the Oscars, for 10 years.

The show continued after the attack, with Chappelle, Rock and Jamie Foxx introducing Black Star to perform for the crowd. Chappelle was in the middle of introducing the hip-hop legends when he was tackled.

ABC News' Alice Chambers contributed to this report.

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