The Los Angeles man who’s been accused of assaulting Dave Chappelle has explained why he decided to rush the stage and tackle the comedian after Chappelle’s “Netflix Is A Joke” Hollywood Bowl show earlier this month. Isaiah Lee reportedly said that he was “triggered” by Chappelle’s jokes about the LGBTQ community and homelessness, claiming that his intention was never to physically harm the comedian.
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Lee said in an interview with the New York Post. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
The 23-year-old is currently being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles after pleading not guilty to misdemeanor battery. Lee told the post that he went to Chappelle’s show expecting to have “a good time,” but wound up finding the comedian’s material about the queer community and the homeless crisis offensive. “I’m also a single dad and my son is 5,” said Lee, 23, who has been homeless himself. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke.”
After Chappelle’s bizarre evening of comedy, Lee rushed the stage and tackled the comedian. Lee was allegedly carrying a replica handgun with a retractable knife inside. He was subsequently roughed up by Chappelle’s security team. Lee told the Post that he did not have the weapon out with him when he rushed the stage, and claimed that he always carries the weapon for protection because he is also a “minor celebrity” due to his budding rap career under the moniker “NoName_Trapper.” He has a song, “Dave Chappelle,” about the Emmy-winning comic.
Lee is facing four misdemeanor counts, including battery and possessing a deadly weapon with intent to assault. He told the post that he was molested when he was 17 while under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles, and that he reached his “breaking point” when another comic in Chapelle’s lineup made a crude joke about pedophilia. Lee said that any reports he was suffering from mental health issues were “wrong” and “inaccurate.” However, his lawyer has confirmed that Lee is receiving mental health services.
The Chappelle incident has led to more charges against Lee. On Thursday, he was charged with stabbing his roommate in 2021. The victim in that case said that he was able to identify his alleged assailant in part due to the viral nature of Lee’s alleged assault of Chappelle. “It went from me probably only doing six months [in jail] and having to do community service and living in a transitional home … to possibly 15 or more years in jail,” Lee told the paper. “My son will be big by the time I get out.”
Despite this, Lee said that he doesn’t regret attacking Chappelle. Lee told the Post that after the attack, Chappelle asked Lee to explain hmself. “I told him my mother and grandmother, who fought for his civil rights to be able to speak, would be upset at the things he said,” Lee said. According to him, Chapelle responded, “Now your story will die with you, son.”