SANTA FE (KRQE) – He made national headlines for throwing a banana peel at the famous comedian Dave Chappelle and was labeled a racist for it. Now the Santa Fe man behind it went on camera with KRQE News 13 to say, people have him all wrong.
Christian Englander told News 13 Thursday, he’s no racist, but he admits that throwing a banana peel at Chappelle was a mistake.
Showing off his Zia symbol tattoo with a winking smiley face in the middle, Englander calls him a jester.
“That’s me, dude, that’s what’s up right there, I am a joker,” said Englander.
However, Englander says he’s not a racist.
“I never meant to hurt him (Chappelle) the banana had no racial connotation to that toss,” said Englander.
Englander was arrested and charged with battery and disorderly conduct on Monday night after admitting to throwing a banana peel at Dave Chappelle inside Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center. By Tuesday, Englander’s name was tied to dozens of national news articles that put him in a negative spotlight. Part of that spotlight were accusations that the banana peel toss was racially motivated.
Englander told News 13’s camera Thursday, he has new words for Chappelle.
“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?” said Englander when asked what he would tell Dave Chappelle.
Englander admits he threw the banana peel while Chappelle was on stage. He says he did it because he was mad at Chappelle after an exchange between the comedian and a friend of Englander’s.
Englander says he was drinking and at one point during the show, his friend, Jonathan, began drawing in a personal sketchbook. Chappelle noticed it, and asked to see the man’s sketchbook. Englander says Chappelle then asked for his friend’s name while looking at the drawings.
“He asked him what his name was and that’s where it went from lifting him up to shutting him down,” said Englander. “He tells them that his name is ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and then it just, he (Chappelle) just says, ‘we’re done,’ and then he throws the book at back at him!”
“It didn’t feel cool,” said Englander.
He remembered he had a banana peel in his pocket, but equates throwing it to a heckler throwing a rotten tomato at a performer.
“I felt oh well, he’s the king (Chappelle) I’m gypsy joker jester,” said Englander. “I wasn’t implying he’s anymore of a monkey that I was.”
Englander insists it wasn’t anything else.
“Was this racist?” asked News 13’s Chris McKee.
“Absolutely not, this was a joke. This was a practical joke,” said Englander.
Englander says he now knows what he did was foolish and wants Chappelle to know it as well.
“You’re a courageous man I really honor you for that I do, and I hope that you can see that I’m not a racist and I admire you,” said Englander about Chappelle.
Englander says he didn’t even know that throwing a banana at a black man is racist until someone in jail explained it to him.
News 13 e-mailed Chappelle’s people to ask if Englander’s apology changes anything. As of Thursday afternoon, Chappelle’s representatives hadn’t responded.