Ricky Gervais Defends Trans Jokes In Netflix Special – Deadline

2nd UPDATE: Ricky Gervais is defending his trans jokes in his Netflix comedy special SuperNature that have sparked outrage on social media. “My target wasn’t trans folk, but trans activist ideology,” he told The Spectator in an interview. “I’ve always confronted dogma that oppresses people and limits freedom of expression.” He added, “It was probably the most current, most talked about, taboo subject of the last couple of years. I deal in taboo subjects and have to confront the elephant in the room.”

Gervais was responding to the backlash he’s received following the premiere of his special SuperNature and his jokes aimed at the trans community.

UPDATED, May 24: GLAAD has issued a statement in response to Ricky Gervais’ Netflix comedy special SuperNature.

“We watched the Ricky Gervais ‘comedy’ special on Netflix so you don’t have to. It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric & spreads inaccurate information about HIV,” the organization tweeted Tuesday.

The statement continued: “Attention Ricky and Netflix: people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV to others.

“Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on their platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that. While Netflix is home to some groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own policy in comedy.

“The LGBTQ community and our allies have made it very clear that so-called comedians who spew hate in place of humor, and the media companies who give them a platform, will be held accountable. Meanwhile, there are PLENTY of funny LGBTQ comedians to support,” the statement concluded.

Netflix did not respond to Deadline’s request for a comment.

Gervais’ jokes in the special mocking the trans community have sparked swift backlash on social media.

PREVIOUS, 8:48 AM: Ricky Gervais’ new comedy special SuperNature was released on Netflix just hours ago, but he’s already getting a lot of heat over his graphic jokes mocking the trans community.

Just four minutes in, Gervais takes aim at trans women. “Oh, women!,” Gervais began. “Not all women, I mean the old-fashioned ones. The old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs. Those fucking dinosaurs. I love the new women. They’re great, aren’t they? The new ones we’ve been seeing lately. The ones with beards and cocks. They’re as good as gold, I love them. And now the old-fashioned ones say, ‘Oh, they want to use our toilets.’ ‘Why shouldn’t they use your toilets?’ ‘For ladies!’ ‘They are ladies — look at their pronouns! What about this person isn’t a lady?’ ‘Well, his penis.’ ‘Her penis, you fucking bigot!’ ‘What if he rapes me?’ ‘What if she rapes you, you fucking TERF whore?’”

TERF stands for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist,” a term used to describe feminists who separate the rights of trans women from women’s rights in their advocacy.

At the end of the special, Gervais issued a disclaimer that his jokes aimed at the trans community were solely for shock value: “Full disclosure: In real life of course I support trans rights,” Gervais explained. “I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights. Live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns. Be the gender that you feel you are.”

Last year, Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special The Closer generated a huge backlash over remarks about the trans and LGBTQ+ communities, which sparked an employee walkout at the streamer.

In an interview with Stephen Colbert on Late Show last week to promote the special, Gervais defended his decision to joke about “taboo” subjects, saying he wants to take “smart” audiences to a place they haven’t been before. “I think people get offended when they mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target, and smart people know you can deal with anything, particularly when dealing with something like irony,” he told Colbert.

The social media backlash to SuperNature was quick.

“Ricky Gervais has a new stand-up show out on Netflix today,” a trans woman tweeted. “5 minutes in and he’s making jokes about trans women attacking & raping people in public bathrooms. To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human.”

Another wrote, “If you’re a comedian and you support trans people it’s your responsibility to be speaking out against Dave Chapelle and the new Ricky Gervais special. At this point you can’t call yourself an ally if you’re not publicly taking a stand against it. It’s the bare minimum.”

Another canceled his Netflix membership: “In honour of Ricky Gervais and his 2-4-1 rant on trans people and cancel culture, I am in fact, cancelling. Thanks @netflix #TransRightsAreHumanRights”

You can see a sample of additional reactions below:

Ricky Gervais Defends Trans Jokes In Netflix Special: “My Target Wasn’t Trans Folk, But Trans Activist Ideology” — Update

Christin Hakim

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