May 4 (Reuters) – American comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage on Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles by an assailant who tackled him to the ground before being apprehended and arrested, video footage verified by Reuters showed.
It was not immediately clear whether Chappelle, 48, was injured in the attack, or what motivated it. Video footage posted on Twitter showed a man running onto the stage and launching his upper body into Chappelle, slamming his shoulder into the comedian’s ribs and chest.
After the initial contact, the assailant and Chappelle took several steps before both fell to the floor, the video showed. The assailant then stood up and ran around the stage, dodging a swarm of people for several seconds before they tackled him near the back of the stage.
Chappelle was performing at the venue along with other comedians as part of an 11-day comedy festival called “Netflix is a Joke.”
The attack occurred just over a month after actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, an unprecedented incident at the globally televised event that prompted concerns that performers might face copycat assaults.
Smith, who won the best actor award, was subsequently banned from attending the Oscars for 10 years. The actor issued statements apologizing to Rock, the Oscars producers, nominees and viewers after the incident.
A representative for the Hollywood Bowl told Reuters the incident was under investigation, declining to comment further. An agent and public relations representative for Chappelle and the Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to an ABC report, Rock, who had performed there earlier in the evening, joined Chappelle on stage moments after it took place and joked: “Was that Will Smith?”
Los Angeles police took a male suspect into custody who NBC Los Angeles said was armed with a replica gun capable of ejecting a knife blade.
Video footage obtained by Reuters showed the suspect on a stretcher being placed into an ambulance. He was taken to hospital with minor injuries, NBC Los Angeles cited police as saying.
Brianna Sacks, a journalist for BuzzFeed News who attended the event, said the altercation took place as Chappelle ended his performance.
Chappelle’s Netflix comedy special “The Closer” was criticized last year by some who saw it as ridiculing transgender people. Supporters of the comedian viewed it as a cry against what is called cancel culture.