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Netflix No Longer Streaming Chappelle Show After Comedian Blasts ViacomCBS for Licensing it Without Paying Him

Stephanie Sengwe

Chappelle’s Show is probably one of the most valuable shows in ViacomCBS’ content library and so when Netflix announced they would be bringing it to the platform on Nov. 1, fans were elated. However, it seems Dave Chappelle, who worked as co-creator, executive producer and star of the legendary sketch comedy show was unhappy with the move. The streaming giant has removed the Chappelle Show from the platform, following a request from Chappelle to do so.

We all know that Chappelle famously walked away from a $50 million deal with Comedy Central (under Viacom) back in the early 2000s. It turns out, when he decided to cut ties with the company, he was also cutting ties with any rights he had over the eponymous show. “When I left that show I never got paid. They (ViacomCBS) didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract. 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?,” he stated in a video posted to Instagram titled, “Unforgiven”.

It turns out when he found out that Netflix has signed a deal to bring the show to their platform, Chappelle—who has released a series of successful specials in partnership with Netflix—took matters into his own hands and appealed directly to the top brass at the streaming service.

“I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better. That’s why I f—k with Netflix. Because they paid me my money, they do what they say they’re going to do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a businessman,” Chappelle explained in the video. “They did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong. And I do — I think that if you are f—king streaming that show you’re fencing stolen goods.”

ViacomCBS’ deal with Netflix is part of the company’s strategy to monetize on library content. They also signed another non-exclusive agreement to bring The Chappelle Show Reno 911, Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele as well as Nathan For You, to HBO Max.

During the Q3 2020 earnings call earlier this month, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish expounded on their licensing strategy saying, “Our strategy is evolving particularly with Paramount+. In terms of the content licensing business, we have a tremendous asset base in content—both from film library, TV library and current series production—we can’t keep all that for ourselves, it doesn’t make sense. We do have strong demand from third parties…and we can reliably and profitably monetize it and we do.”

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