Dave Chappelle’s attacker has said he was inspired to storm the stage and hit the comedian by Will Smith, following Smith’s attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Isaiah Lee, 23, remains in jail following the May 3 attack, and has said he was ‘triggered’ by Chappelle’s mocking of the LGBTQ community and homeless people.
On Monday Lee told The New York Post that he was inspired by Smith, because Rock had joked about Smith’s wife’s alopecia.
Lee said he thought Smith was justified in ‘standing up for his wife’.
He told the paper he felt that as a bisexual man he was also justified in standing up for those made fun of by Chappelle.
‘That’s not right what [Chris Rock] said about his wife, calling her GI Jane,’ said Lee.
‘I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.
‘I wanted Dave Chappelle and people to know that these are things you need to be more sensitive about and not joke about.’
Chappelle himself has joked about the situation with Rock.
‘At least you got smacked by someone of repute!’ Chappelle told Rock.
‘I got smacked by a homeless guy with leaves in his hair.’
Isaiah Lee, 23, is seen in court in Los Angeles following his attack on Dave Chappelle
Lee had previously allegedly jumped on stage and tried to attack Dave Chappelle, who was able to sidestep his attacker and avoid injury. Lee had been carrying a knife and inside a replica gun
Will Smith scandalized the Oscars ceremony when he stormed the stage and hit Chris Rock, after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife
Rock was shocked by the slap, but refused to press charges. Smith has been banned from the Oscars for 10 years
Lee, a budding rapper under the name ‘NoName_Trapper’, said that he also attacked Chappelle to raise his profile.
‘I’m not going to lie. It was a bit of clout-chasing,’ he admitted.
He also said his actions have gained him notoriety in jail.
‘In Hollywood, you know they say there is no such thing as bad publicity,’ he said.
‘I rap about these things in my music and knew it would get attention.
‘They come up to me and ask, ‘Hey, are you the guy who went up to Dave Chappelle?’
‘I feel safer here right now than being outside because I’m going to need to find and hire security.’
Lee was charged with four misdemeanors after the May 3 attack – 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.
He stormed the stage in Los Angeles and tried to tackle Chappelle while carrying a folding knife attached to a fake replica firearm, in front of a high profile crowd that included people such as Elon Musk, Jamie Foxx and Busta Rhymes.
The comedian was able to sidestep Lee, and was unharmed. Lee said that Foxx and Busta Rhymes both jumped onto the stage and kicked him to the ground.
Lee was arrested at the scene, and taken to hospital with a broken arm.
Lee, 23, said on Saturday that he attacked Chappelle because he found his comedy ‘triggering’
On Sunday, Lee told The New York Post that he was not amused by Chappelle’s repartee.
‘I identify as bisexual and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,’ Lee said Saturday at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.
‘I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.’
He said he was excited to see Chappelle’s show, being recorded live for Netflix, but grew increasingly angry at the content.
He had been homeless before, and said the jokes made him emotional and upset.
‘I’m also a single dad and my son is five,’ Lee told the paper.
‘It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke.’
He said his breaking point came when another comedian in the show’s lineup make a joke about pedophilia, which Lee said brought back memories of being molested when he was 17.
Asked about reports that he suffers from mental health issues, Lee said they were ‘wrong’ and ‘inaccurate.’
His lawyer, however, has said he is receiving mental health services.
Lee also now faces attempted murder charges, after the confrontation led officials in Los Angeles to discover that he was the suspect in another crime.
Lee has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing his roommate back in December
Lee suffered a broken arm after security arrested him and took him off stage
He was accused of stabbing his roommate back in December at a ‘transitional housing program’ generally reserved for homeless individuals.
The Los Angeles district attorney, George Gascon, is crediting the publicity surrounding Lee’s attack on Chappelle with helping the victim identify his alleged attacker.
‘The publicity generated by the attack on Mr. Chappelle helped police solve this crime,’ said Gascon in a statement.
‘The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl was misdemeanor conduct and rightfully referred to the City Attorney’s Office.
‘Based on the nature and severity of the December attack, Mr Lee is now facing felony charges which my office will prosecute.’
Lee pleaded not guilty to the stabbing charge. He is scheduled to return to court on June 2.
Lee had initially pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts at his arraignment in relation to the attack on Chappelle, during which the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to issue felony charges.
He faces just 18 months in jail if convicted.
Lee’s attorney said the the man never brandished his concealed weapon at any time when he stormed the stage.
Chappelle has not yet publicly reacted to the decision, but during a comedy show, the comedian revealed that he has spoken with the attacker.
The 23-year-old was taken into custody at the event, then was taken to the hospital. He is now in jail
This is the weapon Lee had when he tried and attack Chappelle on stage
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon (pictured) failed to pursue felony charges against Lee, who now only faces misdemeanor charges for the attack on Chappelle
Chappelle said that he asked police whether he could speak to Lee.
‘I needed to talk to him,’ Chappelle told his audience at LA’s Comedy Store’s secret 70-chair room the Belly Room, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Gascon’s office – which is famously in favor of low-or-no-cash-bonds – chose not to pursue the most serious line of punishment over the concealed weapon.
Instead, they have referred the case to the LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, recommending a misdemeanor charge because ‘the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,’ according to ABC.
When announcing the charges, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer seemed to issue a veiled criticism of the DA, saying: ‘My office takes protecting public safety extremely seriously.’
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