Don Lemon reacted Friday morning to being called out by Dave Chappelle in the comedian’s surprise George Floyd special, released by Netflix at midnight.
“What I will say is that I actually agree with Dave Chappelle. I agree that I think the establishment has been a bit behind and some of what we created — and I consider myself part of the establishment because I am over 40 years old — I think that the young people who are out there in the streets don’t really care what we have to say,” Lemon said on CNN’s “New Day.”
The newsman went on, “They think that part of the world that we created and what we did, maybe we didn’t move fast enough and we weren’t strong enough and so they are out there fighting. They said, ‘Listen, we are tired of what’s happening. We tried to do it nice and we tried to do it peacefully. We tried to do all these things and you rejected it.’ And so I think they’re not only speaking to the white people in this country, but also to all of us in the establishment.”
Still, he went on, the national conversation about systemic racism is “not a moment for modesty”: “I think it’s a moment we should all be using our platform to do whatever we can.”
In his Netflix special “8:46,” Chappelle reacted to Lemon’s call for celebrities to speak out on the Memorial Day death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. “Don Lemon, that hotbed of reality. He says, ‘Where are all these celebrities? Why aren’t you talking?’ This n–a said everybody. I was screaming at the TV, ‘I dare you to say me, n-a. I dare you.'”
“Has anyone ever listened to me do comedy? Have I not ever said anything about these things before?” Chappelle demanded, saying he felt Lemon was calling for him and other celebrities to “step in front of the streets and talk over the work these people are doing.”
The comedian continued, “This is the streets talking for themselves! They don’t need me right now. I kept my mouth shut and I’ll still keep my mouth shut but don’t think my silence is complicit.”