Isaiah Lee, the 23-year-old who attacked Dave Chappelle during a stand-up show in early May, says he wanted the comedian to know that his jokes were “triggering” but that he never intended to hurt him.
Speaking to the New York Post from a Los Angeles correctional facility Sunday, Lee explained what was going through his mind when he ambushed Chappelle on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl.
“I identify as bisexual … and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” he said. “I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
Lee said he was “triggered” by Chappelle’s jokes about the LGBTQ community and homelessness. “I’m also a single dad and my son is five,” added Lee, who according to the Post has experienced homelessness himself. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke.”
Still, he insisted that hurting Chappelle was not on his agenda, and while he admitted to bringing a replica gun concealing a knife to the show, he told the Post that he was not carrying it during the attack.
What finally set Lee off, reported the Post, was when another comedian performing in the “Netflix Is A Joke” event made a crack about pedophilia – conjuring up Lee’s memories of being molested as a teenager.
Footage of the attack showed Lee climbing onto the stage and flying at Chappelle, who he wrestled before running behind a screen. Shortly after, security apprehended him.
“They spat on me and twisted me as if on purpose,” Lee said of the security guards. He was transported to a hospital and treated for injuries sustained during the altercation, reportedly including a broken arm.
After the attack, wrote the Post, Chappelle asked Lee why he did it.
“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 told The Post.
He recalled Chappelle responding to him, “Now your story will die with you, son.”
Lee faces four misdemeanor charges for the Chappelle attack, but last week he was also charged with attempted murder for a December stabbing incident involving his roommate. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said that “the publicity generated by the attack on Mr. Chappelle helped police solve this crime.”
“Based on the nature and severity of the December attack, Mr. Lee is now facing felony charges, which my office will prosecute,” he said in a press statement. Lee has pleaded not guilty to all charges in both cases.