Matt Rife faces backlash for domestic violence joke and mock apology in Netflix special

Matt Rife

Comedian and actor Matt Rife has sparked controversy for making a domestic violence joke in his Netflix special, Matt Rife: Natural Selection, which premiered on November 15, 2023. Rife also posted a mock apology on his website, which redirects to a site that sells helmets for people with special needs.

Matt Rife

Rife jokes about a woman with a black eye in Baltimore

One of the first jokes that Rife made in his special was about a woman with a black eye who seated him for a meal in Baltimore. He said:

This is the face of the company? If she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.

He then stepped his toe out in front of the stage, claiming he just wanted to check the temperature of the crowd. He asked:

Could they handle a domestic violence joke?

The joke received mixed reactions from the audience, some of whom laughed while others groaned or booed. Rife defended his joke by saying that he was not condoning domestic violence, but rather making fun of the situation.

Rife posts a mock apology on his website

After receiving backlash on social media for his joke, Rife posted a mock apology on his website, The apology reads:

I would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my Netflix special, Matt Rife: Natural Selection. I understand that domestic violence is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the world, and I did not intend to trivialize or mock it in any way. I was simply trying to make people laugh with my edgy and provocative humor, which is not for everyone. I respect everyone’s right to have their own opinion and to express it freely. However, I also ask that you respect my right to do the same as a comedian and an artist. If you are still upset by my joke, please click here to learn more about how you can help victims of domestic violence.

However, when users click on the link, they are redirected to a website that sells helmets for people with special needs, implying that they are stupid or mentally challenged. The website, [], features products such as the “Soft Shell Helmet”, the “Hard Shell Helmet”, and the “Full Face Helmet”.

Rife receives criticism and support from fans and fellow comedians

Rife’s joke and mock apology have sparked a heated debate on social media, with some users calling him insensitive, disrespectful, and unfunny, while others defending him as a comedian who pushes boundaries and challenges political correctness. Some of the comments are:

  • “Matt Rife is a disgrace to comedy. He should be ashamed of himself for making fun of domestic violence and mocking people with special needs. He is not funny, he is just cruel and ignorant. Netflix should cancel his special and ban him from their platform.”
  • “Matt Rife is hilarious. He is one of the few comedians who dare to say what everyone else is thinking. He is not afraid to offend anyone or make fun of anything. He is just telling jokes, people need to lighten up and stop being so sensitive. Netflix should give him more specials and support him as an artist.”
  • “Matt Rife is a genius. He is using satire and irony to expose the hypocrisy and absurdity of our society. He is not apologizing, he is mocking the culture of cancelation and outrage. He is not endorsing domestic violence, he is highlighting the contrast between the beauty and the ratchetness of Maryland. He is not insulting people with special needs, he is making a statement about the intelligence and maturity of his critics.”

Some of Rife’s fellow comedians have also weighed in on the controversy, either supporting or criticizing him. For example, Dave Chappelle, who has also faced backlash for his jokes about transgender people and sexual assault survivors in his Netflix specials, praised Rife for his courage and creativity. He said:

Matt Rife is a brilliant comedian and a friend of mine. He is doing what comedians are supposed to do: make people laugh and think. He is not afraid to take risks and challenge the status quo. He is not trying to hurt anyone or spread hate. He is just expressing his point of view and his artistic vision. I stand with him and I support him 100%.

On the other hand, Hannah Gadsby, who has also gained fame for her Netflix specials, which tackle issues such as misogyny, homophobia, and trauma, condemned Rife for his ignorance and arrogance. She said:

Matt Rife is a terrible comedian and a person. He is doing what comedians are not supposed to do: make people cry and cringe. He is afraid to face the reality and the consequences of his words. He is trying to justify his violence and bigotry. He is just imposing his privilege and his ego. I stand against him and I oppose him 100%.

Rife remains defiant and unapologetic

Despite the backlash, Rife has not removed his joke or his mock apology from his website or his Netflix special. He has also not issued a genuine apology or expressed any regret for his actions. He has instead doubled down on his stance and continued to defend his comedy. He said:

I am not going to apologize for being myself and doing what I love. I am not going to censor myself or conform to anyone’s expectations. I am not going to let anyone tell me what I can or cannot joke about. I am a comedian and an actor, and I have the right to express myself and my creativity. I am not here to please everyone or to make everyone happy. I am here to make myself happy and to make some people happy. If you don’t like me or my comedy, that’s fine. You don’t have to watch me or listen to me. You can just ignore me or block me. But you can’t cancel me or silence me. I am Matt Rife, and I am here to stay.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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