US Comedian Dave Chappelle has sparked controversy by claiming the men to have accused Michael Jackson of molesting them as boys were lucky to be abused by the King of Pop.
Chappelle was appearing in Sticks & Stones, his fifth Netflix special in the last two years, in which he targets what he dubs "celebrity hunting season" and the growth of so-called cancel culture.
"This is the worst time ever to be a celebrity," he says.
"You’re gonna be finished. Everyone’s doomed.
"Michael Jackson’s been dead for 10 years, and this n****s got two new cases."
Chappelle was referencing the release earlier this year of Leaving Neverland, a major documentary investigating the claims of child abuse that surrounded the singer for decades prior to his death in 2009.
The film, by British director Dan Reed, is based on a series of interviews with Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, both of whom say Jackson abused them when they were dancing proteges of his in the 1990s.
It contains graphic accounts of the men's relationship with Jackson and the abuse they suffered.
'LUCKY TO BE ABUSED BY KING OF POP'
In the special, Chappelle discourages his audience from watching the film, saying: "Don’t watch it … it’s f***ing gross … really nasty s**t."
He then continues: "I don’t think he did it, but you know what? Even if he did do it… you know what I mean? I mean, it’s Michael Jackson.
"I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives, but it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it?"
"This kid got his d**k sucked by the King of Pop.
"All we get is awkward Thanksgivings for the rest of our lives.
"You know how good it must have felt to go to school the next day after that s**t?"
He adds he also doubts Safechuck's and Robson's accounts because Macaulay Culkin, known as the child star of the Home Alone film series, who was also friends with Jackson as a child, maintains he was never molested by Jackson nor witnessed the singer molest anyone else.
Chappelle said: "I’m not a pedophile. But if I was, Macaulay Culkin’s the first kid I’m f***ing – I’ll tell you that right now."
Social media users were quick to react to Chappelle's routine.
One expressed outrage, tweeting: "@DaveChappelle there is comedy then there is what you did, which is disgusting!!!"
Another said: "Really struggling to wrap my head around this Chappelle routine. It's okay if Michael Jackson was an abuser because he was super famous."
But others responded positively to the show, leaping to the funnyman's defence.
"Dave Chappelle is a master craftsman and national treasure," said one.
"I love Dave Chappelle. Keep doing you," said another.
Chappelle's show is available now to watch on Netflix.
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