"I'm lucky I don't have a talk show in this era because I would have lost it," Handler says.
Chelsea Handler may just be too hot for TV these days. Or at least she thinks she's way too handsy for this more sensitive era.
The comedian and former late-night talk show host opened up about what she's been up to in the nearly two years since her Netflix talk show "Chelsea" wrapped production during her first-ever visit to "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Monday night.
What she's been doing is writing books, going to therapy and learning a lot about herself and the world, including how wrong she was about what white privilege really is, and just how politically incorrect her behavior was, even if she had the best of intentions.
She remains involved with Netflix, though, who will be releasing her latest documentary, "Hello, Privilege. It's Me Chelsea," on Friday.
"I got in trouble, I had to take sexual harassment training from Netflix right out of the gate," Chelsea told Jimmy. She came out with this statement right after their discussion on what she'd learned about white privilege while making the documentary, so the transition was a little jarring for Jimmy.
"Why sexual harassment?" he asked.
"That was the question I asked, actually," Chelsea laughed. "I was like, ‘Wait, racial sensitivity training--’ They’re like, ‘You’re taking that, too.’"
It turns out it all stemmed from an incident at a public event where Chelsea went to embrace a woman after she'd sang a song. "When she got up, I gave her a hug to say great job and kind of smacked her on the butt. That’s my sign of affection," Chelsea tried to explain. "Like, that’s how I say, 'Hey, sister, we’re friends, we’re sisters, we’re girls.' It’s not a sexual affront because I’m straight, or so I thought."
It turns out misunderstanding white privilege was just the tip of the iceberg to what Chelsea didn't understand.
"I got a call the next day and they said, ‘Okay, this girl was very upset, the woman you touched on the ass.’ And I didn’t even remember it. And immediately, I became defensive. I was like, ‘Oh no.’ I’m like, 'I’m not hitting on her.' They’re like, 'That’s not the issue.'"
In both instances, she was certain that because she was a straight woman doing this to another woman, there was no way it could be any form of harassment because there was clearly no sexual intent behind it. No sexual intent, no sexual harassment, right? Yeah, it's not that simple.
She even went so far as to ask the woman what it was that she did wrong, and then clearly still not getting it, she went back to Netflix. "I asked them, ‘Am I allowed to do that to white people, touch them? Is it just a black thing?’ And they’re like, ‘Stop touching people altogether. Like, don’t do that.'"
It turns out this is a bigger ask than Netflix might have realized, as Chelsea admits she has a very juvenile sense of humor and she's "a handsy kind of person."
" I grab people by their breasts that I’m friendly with, like as a greeting," she told Jimmy. "Or I’ll tap somebody on their Pikachu. But friends, mostly friends -- but sometimes strangers -- and I cannot do that anymore. None of us can, so it’s a wrap on that behavior."
When Jimmy tried to argue that these behaviors were never acceptable, Chelsea admitted, "It is true that I was never supposed to do it, and that is a hard lesson to learn if you are a handsy kind of person."
"I’m lucky I don’t have a talk show in this era because I would have lost it," Chelsea said.
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