Dave Chappelle is being sued because of a banana. If you can remember way back to 2015, you might remember that Chappelle made headlines while performing at a show at the Lensic PAC in Santa Fe. It was during that show that someone in the audience threw a banana peel at him while he was on stage. Chappelle even mentioned the incident as part of his Netflix special, Deep In The Heart of Texas when he discusses racially charged incidents he’s experienced. The man who threw the banana was later identified as Christian Englander was arrested for the act was charged with disturbing the peace but the case didn’t go that far due to Chappelle not wanting to participate in the prosecution.
Now, a report out of New Mexico states that Englander is suing Chappelle and his alleged bodyguard for what transpired after he was removed from the 2015 show as Englander claims he was assaulted by a member of Chappelle’s security team. The lawsuit, filed by Englander in state District Court without an attorney, claims that Chappelle’s assumed bodyguard, operating under direction from the comedian, struck Englander twice in the face “without provocation.” Adding that Chappelle had a duty to the plaintiff to adequately hire, train, and supervise his security personnel to ensure members of the public were not subjected to assault. The incident sparked a conversation about race in Santa Fe with then-Mayor Javier Gonzales denouncing the actions of Englader.
The police report filed after the incident made no mention or report of Englander’s assault, raising the question of whether preferential treatment was given to the comedian. Englander, a self-described eccentric and jester, said he threw the banana peel after Chappelle made fun of his friend and he’s seeking punitive damages “in such amount as may be found appropriate.”
After compiling all of this information, our initial thoughts of this case favor Chappelle. If there is proof he was assaulted, Englander has every right to sue. But thus far, it appears legless.
First, Englander has not retained a lawyer for this suit making it appear frivolous. Additionally, claiming he was attacked “without provocation” from Chappelle’s supposed security conveniently forgets that Englander started the entire incident by disrupting a comedy show and throwing something at Chappelle. Then there’s the fact Englander threw a banana peel at person of color on stage during a performance – this will and is being positioned as a hate crime by many. Englader should be lucky Chappelle didn’t pursue charges against him back in 2015 and let the entire incident go.