HBO Max is joining Netflix in acceding to comedian Dave Chappelle‘s request to remove Chappelle’s Show from their streaming services. The WarnerMedia streaming platform has confirmed that it will pull the sketch comedy series from its platform by the end of the month.
HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys confirmed with Variety that, starting January 1, Chappelle’s Show will no longer be streaming on the platform, at the request of series creator and star Dave Chappelle. With this new development, only the ViacomCBS-owned streamer CBS All Access will feature the series in its library. Bloys said in a statement:
“We had a conversation with Dave. I won’t get into it, but it’s very clear that it’s a very unique and specific and emotional issue he’s got. So at the end of the year, at the end of this year, December 31, we’re going to honor his request and take the show down.”
HBO Max follows in the footsteps of Netflix’s removal of Chappelle’s Show from its streaming platform at the end of November, in a quick reaction to Chappelle’s Instagram demanding that streaming services pull the sketch comedy show as he did not approve the decision or get paid for it. According to Chappelle, the issue stems from his exit from Chappelle’s Show after its abbreviated three-season run on Comedy Central, for which he “never got paid” for his lucrative contract with the network. Chappelle urged his fans not to stream Chappelle’s Show on the streaming platforms that featured it, because series owner ViacomCBS has not paid him for licensing out the Comedy Central hit.
“They didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract,” Chappelle said. “But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal ’cause I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either.”
At the time of Chappelle’s Show airing, between 2003 and 2006, neither Chappelle nor Comedy Central could likely have anticipated streaming platforms to be such a major player, which has likely led to this gray area in Chappelle’s contract that has caused this upset. But while it was no surprise the Netflix would pull the series, given the streamer’s good relationship with the comedian, it’s a little more unexpected that HBO Max would accede, especially in the wake of the WarnerMedia streaming platform’s controversial part in debuting the upcoming Warner Bros. 2021 slate. Does this mean that HBO Max will have to field requests from directors who weren’t notified of their films heading straight to streaming? That’s extremely unlikely, but this whole saga just gives more insight to the messiness of navigating streaming rights.
Chappelle’s Show will continue to stream on HBO Max through December 31, 2020.
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