Co-creator Dave Chappelle offered some context for the decision in an Instagram clip of what appears to be a recent standup set, in which he described any company streaming the show as "fencing stolen goods."
Not that he's accusing Comedy Central of violating its deal with him. Instead, it's the contract that he's criticizing, and he said he signed it "the way that a 28-year-old expecting father that was broke signs a contract."
People think I made a lot of money from ‘Chappelle’s Show.' When I left that show, I never got paid. They didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract. But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal because I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either.
Chappelle went on to describe himself as "furious" when he heard that Netflix was streaming the show:
So you know what I did? I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better. That’s why I fuck with Netflix. Because they paid me my money, they do what they say they’re going to do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a businessman. They did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong.
Speaking of deals, Netflix signed a reported $60 million deal with Chappelle in 2016 for the rights to three stand-up specials.
"Chappelle's Show," meanwhile, is still available on HBO Max (he has some choice words for HBO executives, as well) and on Comedy Central and CBS All Access — which, like Comedy Central, is owned by ViacomCBS.