A man who threw a banana peel at Dave Chappelle during a 2015 performance in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is suing the comedian and a man presumed to be his bodyguard.
Christian Englander’s lawsuit filed Friday claims that the presumed bodyguard struck Englander twice as he was being restrained.
Englander, who is white, has said he had no racial motivation when he threw the banana peel at Chappelle, who is black, but was angered by something Chappelle said during the show.
Englander faced charges of battery and disturbing the peace for tossing the banana peel at the comedian. The peel hit Chappelle in the leg, but the charges were dropped because Chappelle was unwilling to participate in the prosecution.
Englander’s claim that he was assaulted was not mentioned in the police report, but his lawyer said it would have been raised if Englander went on trial.
“I’m a jester,” Englander told The New Mexican after the incident in 2015. “And I did a jester act in the king’s court.”
When he was asked what he would say to Chappelle, Englander told KRQE-TV he would apologize, saying, “I am sorry that I hurt your feelings, you know? That’s real, your feelings are real, and I want to acknowledge that, you know?”
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After the banana was thrown on stage, Chappelle joked about it, according to audio captured during the performance.
“I can’t believe not only that someone threw a banana onstage. I can’t believe they had a banana on them,” Chappelle said.
“Why didn’t he throw a good banana at me?” Chappelle continued. “Just the brown peel? Where’s the rest of it? I am actually offended by the poor quality of the banana. It was brown, man.”
Chappelle discusses the banana peel incident in his 2017 Netflix special Deep in the Heart of Texas, referring to it as “Banana-gate.”
“Of course, it was a white person,” he tells the Texas crowd, which erupts with laughter.
“Twenty years from now, he’s going to be tucking his kids into bed, the kid’s going to be like, ‘Daddy tell me about the day that you threw that banana peel at that in Santa Fe,’” Chappelle jokes.
Chappelle’s publicist Carla Sims did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the matter.
—With files from the Associated PressFollow @KatieScottNews
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