‘I am not bluffing’: Dave Chappelle rebuffs affordable housing in Ohio hometown

A man in a black leather suit holding a microphone.
Dave Chappelle threatened to pull his business interests from the town if the plan went through.
(Mathieu Bitton / Netflix)

The town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, has scrapped a plan that would have created more affordable housing following opposition from many residents, including superstar comedian Dave Chappelle.

Last July, Oberer Homes anounced it planned to build about 140 new homes on 53 acres of land in Yellow Springs, a village about 20 miles from Dayton.

According to Dayton Daily News, the village council had asked for the development to contain an affordable-housing component, including duplexes and townhomes, as homes in the town of 4,000 people had grown increasingly scarce and expensive.

After trans Netflix employees protested, these stories explain the backlash sparked by Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, “The Closer.”


Because the area had been designated for single-family housing, the proposal required council approval to rezone the area to include duplexes and townhomes.

On Monday, Chappelle spoke up at a village council meeting, adamant in his displeasure, and threatened to remove his business investments, which include plans for a restaurant and a comedy club in the village.

In video footage from the meeting posted on Twitter, Chappelle said, “I don’t know why the village council would be afraid of litigation from a $24-million-a year company, while it kicks out a $65-million-a-year company.” The latter was a reference to his company, Iron Table Holdings LLC, which had recently purchased property in the area.

“I cannot believe you would make me audition for you. You look like clowns,” he added, his voice rising. “I am not bluffing. I will take it all off the table. That’s all. Thank you.”

Chappelle’s impassioned speech was met with some applause from the meeting’s audience. Other residents followed suit, mentioning fears of increased traffic and water management.

Later that night, the council voted 2-2 with one member abstaining, meaning the development will proceed without duplexes and affordable housing. Homes will start at about $300,000, according to the Dayton Daily News.

In Screen Gab No. 9, we explore the history behind the Dave Chappelle controversy, refresh your ‘Succession’ memory and recommend streaming thrillers.

Last year, Chappelle found himself in hot water after making jokes that many considered transphobic in his latest Netflix comedy special, “The Closer.” The October controversy sparked a walkout and protest by Netflix employees and their supporters, along with multiple rebukes from the trans community and a handful of Netflix staffers leaving the company.

“Dave stands by his Art. Both sides of the street are talking and Dave is listening. At some point, when everyone is open, I’m sure our communities will come together,” his publicist, Carla Sims, said in a statement to The Times in October.