Jon Stewart Defends Dave Chappelle After SNL Monologue Antisemitism Criticism

"The Problem with Jon Stewart" host also discusses Kyrie Irving and Kanye West's antisemitic controversies — just as Chappelle was doing when he came under fire.

“It shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things,” Dave Chappelle said during his “Saturday Night Live” monologue this past weekend, and Jon Stewart agrees with him.

The host of “The Problem with Jon Stewart” swung by to visit his friend Stephen Colbert where the talked about Chappelle coming under fire for his standup monologue, as well as the antisemitic controversies embroiling Kanye West and Kyrie Irving.

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It was in discussing those very topics that Chappelle landed himself in hot water, being accused by leadership from the Anti-Defamation League for “popularizing” antisemitism.

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“‘He normalized antisemitism with the monologue,'” Stewart echoed Tuesday night on “The Late Show,” per Variety. “I don’t know if you’ve been on comment sections on most news articles, but it’s pretty normal. It’s incredibly normal.”

“The one thing I will say is I don’t believe that censorship and penalties are the way to end antisemitism or to gain understanding,” Stewart continued. “I don’t believe in that. It’s the wrong way for us to approach it.”

In a tweet posted on Sunday afternoon after Chappelle’s “SNL” appearance, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt lambasted the comedian’s material, asking, “Why are Jewish sensitivities denied or diminished at almost every turn? Why does our trauma trigger applause?”

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Chappelle was not agreeing with antisemtic sentiments in his monologue, but the way he spoke about Kanye and Kyrie and their respective controversies didn’t sit well with some.

The audience was even uncertain at times, with a very tepid response when he said, “I know the Jewish people have been through some terrible things all over the world. But you can’t blame that on Black Americans.”

For his part, Stewart shared that he’s been called antisemtic himself because he’s against Isreal’s treatment of Palestinians, and he’s been called a lot of other things, but “those shut down debate.”

“Whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality then how do we move forward?” he posited. “If we all just shut it down, then we retreat to our little corners of misinformation and it metastasizes.”

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As for Kanye West, Stewart pulled out a sound byte from one of the rapper’s many interviews, when Ye said, “Hurt people hurt people.”

“I’m afraid that the general tenor of conversation that this country has is ‘Cover it up, bury it, put it to the outskirts and don’t deal with it,'” said Stewart. “Look at it from a Black perspective. It’s a culture that feels that its wealth has been extracted by different groups … That’s the feeling in that community and if you don’t understand where it’s coming from then you can’t deal with it.”

West came under fire after marking his return to Twitter for the first time in two years last month. He made the shift after Instagram had restricted his account for violating its policies, but almost immediately found himself on the wrong side of Twitter’s policies.

One of his first tweets on the platform was taken down for violating those policies, but not before it was captured and began circulating. In it, the rapper wrote, “I’m a bit sleepy but when I wake up I’m going “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.

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He further attempted to get ahead of the inevitable reaction to this statement by adding, “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.” His account was later locked by the platform for violating Twitter policies.

Nets’ superstar Kyrie Irving found himself under the microscope after he tweeted out a link to an antisemitic film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America!” He refused to apologize in the immediate aftermath, landing an indefinite suspension from the Nets.

As reported by TMZ, after the suspension, Irving did apologize, with Nets owner Joe Tsai convinced the baller is not antisemitic after meeting with him.

“The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education,” Tsai tweeted last Thursday. Irving remains suspended.

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