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Rife’s controversial Netflix special sparks outrage

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Comedian and viral TikTok star Matt Rife is facing criticism after making light of domestic violence in his recent Netflix comedy special “Natural Selection.”

According to a recent Forbes report, in the opening bit of his special, Rife told a story about going to a “ratchet” Baltimore restaurant where the hostess greeted customers with a “full black eye.” Rife joked that the restaurant should “put her in the kitchen or something where nobody has to see her face” before delivering the punchline:

“If she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.”

The joke was met with some shocked reactions from the audience. Rife responded by saying he was “testing the water” to see if the crowd would be open to controversial humor. He added that since he opened with a domestic violence joke, the rest of the show should be “smooth sailing.”

The bit prompted a backlash on social media after the special debuted on Netflix last week.

Critics argued Rife should not be making light of domestic abuse. TikTok influencer Drew Afualo posted a video questioning why Rife would risk alienating his predominantly young female fan base with such a misogynistic joke.

When the outrage peaked on Monday, Rife posted on Instagram telling offended viewers they could find his “official apology” at a website selling helmets for people with disabilities — seemingly mocking rather than apologizing for the controversy.

The provocative remarks are becoming something of a pattern for Rife. Earlier this year, he made lewd comments about women’s bodies on a podcast, which also inspired criticism on social media. Rife has built his brand and 18.2 million TikTok followers on irreverent Gen Z humor, but his tendency to push boundaries on sensitive topics like domestic violence has alienated some who feel he has gone too far.

The backlash highlights the challenge comedians face when navigating provocative humor related to issues like gender-based violence. While Rife aimed to shock his audience, many viewers felt he minimized the trauma of abuse survivors rather than enlightening audiences on complex social issues. The joke has raised questions about Rife’s judgment and empathy as he continues rising in popularity.

Featured Image Credit: Forbes; TAYLOR HILL/GETTY; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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