Following Netflix, HBO Max will drop “Chappelle’s Show”

Comedian Dave Chappelle appears in a 2007 photograph.
Comedian Dave Chappelle appears in a 2007 photograph. (Image via Wikimedia Commons/Graphic by The Desk)

Less than one month after streaming service Netflix agreed to remove Dave Chappelle’s eponymous sketch program, AT&T-owned HBO Max says it will do the same after having a conversation with the comedian.

On Tuesday, an AT&T spokesperson confirmed to a trade publication that all three seasons of “Chappelle’s Show” will disappear from HBO Max. The show had been available to stream as part of HBO Max’s $15 a month subscription since November.

“We had a conversation with Dave — I won’t get into it — but it’s very clear that it’s a very unique and specific and emotional issue he’s got,” Casey Bloys, an AT&T executive in charge of content for HBO Max, told the publication Variety.

The program will be removed on December 31, Bloys said.

The decision to remove the show follows criticism from Chappelle that the program’s distributor, ViacomCBS, did not financially compensate him when the entertainment giant licensed Chappelle’s Show to Netflix and AT&T for their streaming services.

Chappelle first expressed disdain at the deals in a lengthy monologue during an episode of Saturday Night Live in early November.

The comedian later posted a video on a social media account in which he affirmed ViacomCBS had the right to license and distribute Chappelle’s Show without financially compensating him under the terms of a contract when the show originally aired on Comedy Central.

“They didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract — but is that right?” Chappelle questioned. “I found out that these people were streaming my work, and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me, [which is] perfectly legal because I signed the contract.”

After learning Netflix had licensed the show from ViacomCBS, Chappelle said he complained. Netflix, which has a long-term content deal with Chappelle, agreed to remove the show as a goodwill gesture, he said.

“They agreed that they would take it off tehir platform just so I could feel better,” Chappelle said.

The decision to remove the program from both HBO Max and Netflix could financially benefit ViacomCBS: The program is now only available to stream on the company’s CBS All Access and Comedy Central apps, and is expected to continue being offered by ViacomCBS when CBS All Access re-launches under the Paramount Plus brand name next year. Select episodes are also available to stream on Pluto TV, a free streaming service owned by ViacomCBS.