Comedian Ricky Gervais is doubling down on the transphobic material included in his new Netflix special SuperNature. 

Trigger Warning: This story discusses homophobia and transphobia, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

Speaking with The Spectator, Gervais, 60, claimed, “My target wasn’t trans folk, but trans activist ideology. I’ve always confronted dogma that oppresses people and limits freedom of expression.”

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Gervais maintained his defensive stance during an appearance on BBC’s The One Show, saying, “I think that’s what comedy is for, really – to get us through stuff, and I deal in taboo subjects because I want to take the audience to a place it hasn’t been before, even for a split second. Most offence comes from when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target.”

No One Is Laughing At Ricky Gervais’ Jokes

In response to Gervais’ transphobic material in SuperNature, GLAAD said in a statement, “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 and spreads inaccurate information about HIV.”

“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,” GLAAD said. “While Netflix is home to some groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own policy in comedy.”

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“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,” said GLAAD. In his special, Gervais also includes material in which he misgenders Eddie Izzard.

Bigotry Gets Laughs

In it’s review of SuperNature, The Independent said, “In his new Netflix special, the comedian seems more comfortable with jokes that rely on a cheap shock factor rather than any emotional or creative truth – and the audience hoot and holler along with all the bigotry…As is all too frequent these days, the longest riff is reserved for the humiliation of trans people.” 

Gervais has long exploited “taboo” subjects as the basis for his comedy, telling The New York Times in a 2019 interview, “I’ve got 13 million followers [on Twitter]. That’s the world, really. I’ll tweet, ‘What’s a subject you should never joke about?’ Some people fall for the trap and say something like, ‘Psoriasis.’ Then I can come up with 10 minutes on that.”

“The audience has got to be clever enough to know when I’m playing the idiot and saying the wrong thing for comic effect. That’s one of the things of comedy: laughing at the wrong thing because you know what the right thing is,” Gervais said.

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In 2019, Gervais tweeted, “I don’t try to offend, but the more people are offended by a joke, particularly on [Twitter], the funnier I find it. And the angrier the tweet, the more chance of me using it and turning it to laughs and cash. PC culture isn’t killing comedy. It’s driving it. As it always did.”

Netflix Faces Backlash

To Dave Chappelle & Netflix – Stop Punching Down On Trans People!

This is the latest controversy to hit Netflix after it ran Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer in October 2022. Chappelle was accused of being transphobic. Netflix employees then staged a large-scale walkout in October 2021 to protest the airing of the special. 

Netflix has experienced a rocky year, admitting it has lost over 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2022. In a money saving move, Netflix recently axed between 60-70 contractors who were employed to oversee the streamer’s including a number of employees who oversaw some of Netflix’s social media and publishing channels, many of which were geared towards people of colour and LGBTQ people. The streamer also let go of 150 full-time employees.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.



 

 

 

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