The 23-year-old man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl says he was triggered by the comedian’s jokes about transgender and homeless people.
“I identify as bisexual — and I wanted him to know what he said was triggering,” Isaiah Lee told the New York Post on Saturday in an interview from the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, where he is awaiting a pretrial hearing on June 2.
“I wanted him to know that next time, he should consider first running his material by people it could affect.”
Lee faces misdemeanor counts of battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.
Chappelle was not injured when Lee rushed the stage at the Bowl around 10:45 p.m. on May 3 while Chappelle was performing as part of the “Netflix Is A Joke” Festival.
Lee told the Post a Chappelle joke about homelessness also offended him, as he has experienced homelessness himself.
“I’m also a single dad and my son is five,” Lee said. “It’s a struggle and I wanted Dave Chappelle to know it’s not a joke.”
He added that another comedian’s joke about pedophilia that night also helped spur him to rush the stage and attack Chappelle, saying it stirred up memories of his own molestation as a teen.
He disputed multiple media reports that he suffers from mental health issues, but his lawyer told the Post he is receiving mental health services.
In a separate case, Lee faces a felony count of attempted murder for allegedly stabbing his roommate at a transitional housing apartment last December, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. A preliminary hearing in that case is also set for June 2, but in a different courtroom in downtown Los Angeles.
As a result of media reports about the Chappelle incident, the alleged stabbing victim identified Lee as the person who committed the attack he previously reported to police, prosecutors said.
Lee has remained behind bars since his May 3 arrest in connection with the alleged attack on Chappelle, with a judge refusing last week to lower his bail.
He told the Post that the Chappelle case was “pretty much done” before the alleged victim in the earlier case came forward.
“But it went from me probably only doing six months [in jail] and having to do community service and living in a transitional home — to possibly 15 or more years in jail. My son will be big by the time I get out.”
According to police, Lee was allegedly in possession of a replica handgun equipped with a retractable knife blade when he appeared to rush the stage. He admitted that was true to the Post, but said he did not have the weapon in hand when he rushed the stage.
Prosecutors decided that the Bowl incident did not rise to the level of a felony, noting that Chappelle was not injured in the attack and Lee did not have the weapon in his hand at the time. They said that the switchblade was never extended during the attack, and there was no sign Lee held any actual animosity toward the comedian.
Lee has been ordered to remain at least 100 yards away from Chappelle, the Hollywood Bowl and any venue where Chappelle is performing in the event he manages to post bail and is released from custody.