Netflix has stopped streaming Chappelle’s Show less than a month after it added the Comedy Central classic to its catalog on November 1st. In an Instagram video spotted by Deadline, Chappelle says he asked the company to remove the series and it honored his request (watch out for f-bombs if you’re about to watch the clip).
“I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad,” he said. “And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better.” Netflix acquired the rights to the series from ViacomCBS as part of a non-exclusive streaming deal. Chappelle doesn’t own the rights to the series and he has consistently criticized the media company for licensing it without paying him royalties.
In removing the series, Netflix’s motivations likely weren’t as altruistic as Chappelle presents them. The company has a deal with the comedian for exclusive access to his standup specials. Had Netflix not honored his request, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have wanted to work with the company in the future. Maintaining a relationship with Chappelle, at a time when competitors like HBO Max and Apple TV are signing Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart to deals, is far more important to Netflix than whatever value the company was going to extract out of streaming an old show everyone has seen.
Chappelle went on to ask the audience and fans not to watch Chappelle’s Show — which is still available to stream on Comedy Central, CBS All Access and HBO Max. “I’m not asking you to boycott any network — boycott me. Boycott Chappelle’s Show. Do not watch it unless they pay me.”