Ricky Gervais has been blasted for making “anti-trans” comments in his latest Netflix comedy show special on Netflix, following in the footsteps of controversial comedian Dave Chappelle.
Last year, Chappelle faced immense backlash for his transphobic comments on his Netflix set The Closer, which prompted a mass employee walkout at Netflix headquarters in California, with many criticising Chappelle’s derogatory mindless jokes.
Gervais’ latest comedy special, SuperNature, began streaming on Netflix on Tuesday and has attracted some negative attention from viewers, with an LGBTQ advocacy group calling out the British comic for his “anti-trans rants”.
Within the special, Gervais joked about “old-fashioned women” who are “the ones with wombs”. He then shares a hypothetical conversation with such a woman who is opposed to sharing a restroom with a transwoman.
Gervais says, “They are ladies. Look at their pronouns. What about this person isn’t a lady?”
He quips, “Well, his penis.”
The Emmy-winning comedian insisted that the special doesn’t reflect his trans and LGBTQ rights views. In the hour-long special, he said that his remarks constitute equal-opportunity humour.
However, the trans communities and their allies, along with GLAAD, responded to the special, calling out Gervais for his insensitivity and asserting his comments to be a direct violation of Netflix’s policy to contain and exterminate content that can lead to violence or hatred.
The group said, “It’s [Gervais’ special] full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes,” along with anti-gay rhetoric and inaccurate statements on HIV.”
GLAAD released a statement about how they will be holding “so-called comedians who spew hate in place of humour, and the media companies who give them a platform” accountable for their actions.
In the special, The Office creator and After Life actor also targets a number of minorities, including Holocaust survivors, later defending his jokes by denying how “a joke is a window into a comedian’s true soul” by saying, “That’s just not the case. I’ll take on any view to make the joke funny. I’ll pretend to be right-wing. I’ll pretend to be left-wing. Full disclosure: of course, I support trans rights. I support all human rights. And trans rights are human rights.”
Before adding a trans-directed punchline, Gervais said, “Live your best life, use your preferred pronouns, be the gender that you feel that you are.”
SuperNature is now streaming on Netflix.