Ricky Gervais knew people would be upset by the flood of anti-trans jokes in his latest Netflix special, “SuperNature.” And as far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing controversial about it.
In an interview with SiriusXM published Wednesday morning, Gervais said “everyone is going to complain about everything” in the new special, which was released Tuesday. Gervais, who has previously dabbled in provocative and ‘not politically correct’ comedy, claimed people would only take offense at jokes at their own expense, but would laugh if it was someone wrong. ‘other.
“Every line someone is going to complain, either because they hate it or because they don’t understand,” Gervais said. “I can list 20 taboo subjects. Everyone in the world laughs at 19 of them and hates whoever affects them.
He accused the media of wrongly inflating the concerns people are expressing on social media, saying online outrage pales next to offline apathy.
“Twenty years ago, if you complained about something, you would pull out a pen and paper and say, ‘Dear BBC.’ Now they can tweet, and the f— press picks up the tweet. They’ll say, ‘People are crazy, says 69341’…most people aren’t crazy. Most people don’t know that.” »
In “SuperNature,” which is full of transphobic jokes, Gervais comments on “old” versus “new women,” asks trans women to “lose the c-,” and riffs on “cancel culture” and “comedy. woke up”. At the end of the special, he says he supports trans rights in real life, while claiming at the start that he makes jokes at their expense to “treat them equally”.
“I’m talking about AIDS, famine, cancer, the Holocaust, rape, pedophilia. But no, the only thing not to joke about is identity politics,” Gervais says in the special. “The one thing you should never joke about is the trans issue. ‘They just want to be treated equally.’ I agree. That’s why I’m including them.
Still, criticism quickly spread online from people who spoke out against the special’s harmful material. GLAAD was quick to weigh in on Wednesday, accusing Netflix of violating its own content moderation rules by airing the special.
“We watched the Ricky Gervais ‘comedy’ special on Netflix, so you don’t have to,” the GLAAD statement read. “It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants disguised as jokes. It also spouts anti-gay rhetoric and spreads inaccurate information about HIV.
“Warning Ricky and Netflix: People living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long, healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV to others,” GLAAD continued. “Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hatred or violence’ is not allowed on its platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does just that.
“While Netflix is home to groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own comedy policy,” the statement added. “The LGBTQ community and our allies have made it clear that so-called comedians who spit hate in place of humor, and the media companies that give them a platform, will be held accountable. Meanwhile, there are LOTS of funny LGBTQ comedians to support.
In October, the streaming service faced similar criticism for defending Dave Chappelle’s transphobic special, “The Closer.” Several Netflix employees staged a walkout in protest, demanding the company remove Chappelle’s murals and posters from the office, set aside a fund to cultivate trans and non-binary talent, and attach a disclaimer disclaimer with special mention that it contained “transphobic language, misogyny, homophobia and hate speech.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos backed Chappelle, saying comedians enjoy a “different standard of speech.”
“Externally, especially in stand-up comedy, artistic freedom is obviously a very different speaking standard than what we allow internally because the goals are different,” Sarandos wrote in a note obtained by Variety. “Entertaining people versus maintaining a respectful and productive workplace.”