Ricky Gervais’ new Netflix comedy special debuted on Tuesday and it’s already garnering backlash for jokes aimed at the transgender community.
The British comedian’s special “SuperNature” took a controversial, no-holds-barred approach with lines on a variety of sensitive topics.
“I talk about AIDS, famine, cancer, the Holocaust, rape, pedophilia, but no, the one thing you mustn’t joke about is identity politics. The one thing you should never joke about is the trans issue. ‘They just wanna be treated equally.’ I agree. That’s why I include them,” Gervais quips during the stand-up set.
Earlier, Gervais makes a distinction of ”old-fashioned women” as “the ones with wombs” and “new women” as “the ones with beards and [penises].”
Gervais then takes aim at pronouns in a mock argument stirred by “old-fashioned women.”
“What if he rapes me? What if she rapes you, you [expletive] TERF?” the comedian says in a back-and-forth exchange. TERF is an acronym that stands for trans exclusionary radical feminists. The term describes feminists who are transphobic.
Gervais also jokes that he wishes gender identity was around when he was a kid so that he could use it to his advantage by threatening his parents that he would either be trans or they can get him a new bike.
Later he admits to sharing “misinformed” rhetoric and being ”childish,” but preferred to be provocative in comedy.
“We’re not trying to offend. That’s not our aim,” he said of controversial comedians. ”We’re trying to make you laugh. Trying to make you have a good time.”
At the end of his hourlong special, Gervais told the audience, ”Full disclosure: In real life of course I support trans rights. 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. But meet me halfway, ladies. Lose the [penis]. That’s all I’m saying.”
Negative reactions appeared quickly on social media, and the activist group GLAAD, which monitors media coverage of LGBTQ issues, said Gervais’ special “is full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric & spreads inaccurate information about HIV.”
GLAAD continued: “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,” the organization concluded. “Meanwhile, there are PLENTY of funny LGBTQ comedians to support.”
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