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Comedian Ricky Gervais – best known for starring in The Office and the hit series After Life – is facing strong backlash from the LGBTQ+ community after being accused of making a series of transphobic jokes in a new show on Netflix.
In the 'comedy' special, titled SuperNature, which has only been available to stream on Netflix since 24 May, Gervais says: "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."
As the audience laughs, the comedian continued, "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 f**king bigot!'" Gervais adds, mocking the use of pronouns. "'What if he rapes me?' 'What if she rapes you, you fucking TERF whore?'," he went on, referencing Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, a term often used to refer to people exclude the rights of transgender women from their advocacy of women's rights.
Understandably, his comments were not well received by the LGBTQ+ community who took to social media in their droves to call the comedian – and Netflix itself – out.
"Ricky Gervais has a new stand up show out on Netflix today. 5 minutes in and he’s making jokes about trans women attacking and raping people in public bathrooms. To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human," one viewer said on Twitter, while someone else said: "In honour of Ricky Gervais and his 2-4-1 rant on trans people and cancel culture, I am in fact, cancelling."
— Big Red (@bigredgaymer) May 24, 2022
Elsewhere, LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD tweeted, "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."
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. 3/4
— GLAAD (@glaad) May 24, 2022
At the end of the 'comedy' special, Gervais seemingly covers his back by telling the crowd: "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 that you are. But meet me halfway, ladies: Lose the cock. That’s all I’m saying."
But, in light of the backlash, he doubled down on his choice of jokes, telling The One Show hosts that comedy is for "getting us over taboo subjects".
"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," he added. "Most offence comes from when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target."
When approached for comment by Cosmopolitan UK, Netflix declined to comment. Gervais' team are yet to reply to our request.
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