Man who attacked Dave Chappelle at Hollywood Bowl sentenced to 270 days after no-contest plea

City News Service
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Man who attacked Dave Chappelle at LA venue sentenced to 270 days
Isaiah Lee, 24, pleaded no-contest to attacking comedian Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl and has been sentenced to 270 days in jail.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- A man who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle on stage at the Hollywood Bowl in May has pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count each of battery and entering a restricted area during a live event.

Isaiah Lee, 24, was sentenced to 270 days in county jail, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

The plea came about 1 1/2 months after a judge rejected the defense's request for a diversion program that could have eventually resulted in the dismissal of the charges against Lee, who remains behind bars in connection with an unrelated case in which he is charged with stabbing his roommate at a transitional housing facility last year.

Authorities said Lee rushed the stage at the Hollywood Bowl around 10:45 p.m. May 3 while Chappelle was performing as part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival. Online video showed Chappelle being thrown to the ground by the suspect, prompting the venue's security staff and Chappelle's crew to rush on stage to subdue the assailant. Among those running to protect Chappelle was actor/comedian Jamie Foxx.

The suspect tried to scramble backstage after the attack, but he was forcefully subdued by security. Subsequent footage showed the bloodied assailant with facial bruises and a seemingly broken arm being placed on a gurney and taken away in an ambulance.

Chappelle was not injured and he continued to perform.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon was criticized by Chappelle's attorney for declining to file any felony charges involving the alleged attack on Chappelle, but he maintained that what happened at the Hollywood Bowl was "misdemeanor conduct and rightfully referred to the City Attorney's Office."

The county's top prosecutor subsequently said "the publicity generated by the attack on Mr. Chappelle helped police solve" the case involving the Dec. 2, 2021, stabbing of Lee's former roommate, which had previously been reported to police. The felony case stemming from the alleged attack on Dijon Washington was filed May 18.

Chappelle, during a subsequent performance at the Comedy Store in Hollywood, told the crowd he was able to speak to the attacker before he was taken away by paramedics. The comedian said the suspect claimed to have carried out the attack to raise awareness of the plight of his grandmother in Brooklyn, who was displaced from her home due to "gentrification."

But Lee told the New York Post in a jailhouse interview that he was triggered by the comedian's jokes about transgender and homeless people.

He is due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Jan. 19 for a pretrial hearing on the case in which he is charged with trying to kill his former roommate.

At a hearing in September in which Lee was ordered to stand trial, his former roommate testified that he "needed to have my small and large intestine sewn back up" and said he spent about seven to eight days in the hospital.