Isaiah Lee, the 23-year-old man charged with tackling Dave Chappelle, said he did it because the comedian stepped over the line with stand-up material about LGBTQ people and homelessness.
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” he told The New York Post in a jailhouse interview out of Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, California.
Lee reportedly said that Chappelle should be more “sensitive.”
He faces charges including battery and possessing a deadly weapon with intent to assault. Strictly put, however, this misdemeanor case is the least of his worries in criminal court. L.A. county prosecutors, ended up also charging him with attempted murder for an unrelated incident in which he allegedly stabbed a roommate. This allegedly happened in transitional housing on Dec. 2. The two incidents are unrelated, but LA County D.A. George Gascón said publicity from the attack on Chappelle resulted in the victim, who previously reported the incident to cops, identifying Lee as the culprit.
Lee told the Post that he went from facing only six months in jail, doing community service and living in transitional housing to facing possibly 15 or more years in prison.
“My son [age five] will be big by the time I get out,” he said.
As seen on video, Lee rushed the stage of The Hollywood Bowl on May 3. In 2020, he released a rap song, which he named after Chappelle. Lee did not appear to talk about the comedian in any clear way.
“Life with you n***as a joke,” he said in a representative lyric.
The comedian has faced staunch criticism for recent transphobic jokes, though he has insisted the controversy wasn’t about him versus the LGBTQ community but “about corporate interests and what I can say and what I cannot say.”
Chappelle made a crack about the tackling after security dragged Lee away; he said the attacker was a “trans man.”
Lee told the Post he was bisexual. He said that Chappelle also joked about homelessness.
“I’m also a single dad and my son is five,” said Lee, who reportedly used to be homeless. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke.”
Another comedian had made a joke about pedophilia. This elicited memories of being molested at age 17 while under the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services, he said.
As seen on footage, Lee sustained serious injury, as he was carried into an ambulance while his elbow was pointing forward.
— AlexGB (@ab_a_w_p) May 4, 2022
Lee told the Post that security guards broke his arm and gave him two black eyes.
“They spat on me and twisted me as if on purpose,” he said. Chappelle at the time said guards were stomping the then-unidentified Lee, and that he joined in too.
Police originally booked Lee into jail for assault with a deadly weapon, a felony. They said he pointed a “replica handgun” that hid a knife. Lee told the Post he did have it on him during the incident, but he asserted he did not take it out.
Lee has pleaded not guilty in the attempted murder case. He denied to the Post that he lived with mental health challenged. His attorney said he was getting treatment.
[Screenshot via CBS Los Angeles]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]