Isaiah Lee may have arguably gotten off easy when he was charged with only four misdemeanors and no felonies after attacking comedian Dave Chappelle on stage during a show at the Hollywood Bowl. However, the 23-year-old is now facing a felony charge after all, as he was arrested on attempted murder charges from a separate incident. Lee has been accused of stabbing his roommate in December 2021.
The May 3 attack of Dave Chappelle on stage during his performance at the Netflix Is a Joke Festival was already frightening enough, as Isaiah Lee reportedly rushed up while armed with a replica handgun that contained a hidden knife blade. The comedian was thankfully not injured in the attack, and in an eerie twist, the international publicity garnered by the Hollywood Bowl incident led to the eventual arrest of Lee in connection with the unrelated stabbing. According to District Attorney George Gascón said (via TMZ):
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is accusing Isaiah Lee of stabbing his roommate at a transitional housing apartment back in December. The victim reported the attack to police, but he was unable to identify the man who stabbed him until he saw Lee in media reports of the Dave Chappelle incident.
Isaiah Lee pleaded not guilty on May 19 to the attempted murder charge, and Deadline reports that he remains in jail with a bail set at $30,000. If he posts bail and is released, he has reportedly been ordered to remain at least 100 yards away from Dave Chappelle and the Hollywood Bowl. Lee is due back in court on June 2.
The district attorney previously faced backlash from fans, as well as Dave Chappelle’s lawyer Gabriel Colwell, after he refused to prosecute the Hollywood Bowl attack as a felony. George Gascón charged Isaiah Lee with 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, all of which Lee pleaded not guilty to.
Following the incident, Gabriel Colwell called for further protection for LA-based performers so that situations like this don’t occur again. Fellow comedian Kevin Hart, however, said the quick apprehension of the attacker should send a message to anyone who might consider taking such action.
The topic of comedians’ and other performers’ on-stage safety has been ongoing since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada. In fact, Rock was on hand to crack a joke about their unfortunate shared experiences after the Dave Chappelle incident, and the two shared a pretty funny exchange when Rock made an appearance during Chappelle’s surprise set at The Comedy Store a couple of nights later.
It’s no surprise that the comedians are processing these incidents with humor, but hopefully performers’ safety is something everybody involved with live shows is now taking seriously.
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