Ricky Gervais' Netflix Special Generates Controversy Over Trans Jokes

Zinger Key Points
  • Gervais cited Kevin Hart's withdrawal as the Oscars as an example of cancel culture.
  • Gervais' special comes one month after Elon Musk's complaint about Netflix suffering from "woke mind virus."

For the second time within a year, Netflix Inc NFLX has generated controversy with a comedy special poking fun at the transgender community — and this time, the center of agitation is British funnyman Ricky Gervais.

What Happened: According to a Variety report, Gervais’ Netflix comedy special “SuperNature” debuted today and veered into the subject of transgender women within four minutes of the opening credits. After referring to biological women as the “old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs — those f**king dinosaurs,” Gervais then fired up his comic ire against trans women.

“I love the new women — they’re great, aren’t they?” he quipped. “The new ones we’ve been seeing lately: the ones with beards and c*cks. They’re as good as gold, I love them. And 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 then threw in a jab at the Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) sector who refuse to accept transgender women as women by having them wonder aloud “‘What if he rapes me?’ ‘What if she rapes you, you f**king TERF whore?’”

What Else Happened: Gervais also cited the 2018 controversy surrounding Kevin Hart’s withdrawal as the Academy Awards host following a renewed focus on his homophobic tweets from years ago.

“You can’t predict what will be offensive in the future,” Gervais complained. “You don’t know who the dominant mob will be. Like, the worst thing you can say today, gets you canceled on Twitter TWTR, death threats, the worst thing you can say today is, ‘Women don’t have penises,’ right? Now, no one saw that coming. You won’t find a 10-year-old tweet saying ‘Women don’t have penises.’ You know why? We didn’t think we f**king had to!”

Gervais wrapped up his show by insisting he was not being mean-spirited in his humor.

“Full disclosure: In real life, of course, I support trans rights,” he said. “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 c*ck. That’s all I’m saying.”

Not surprisingly, Gervais’s jokes started trending across Twitter, with supporters such as conservative journalist Ian Miles Cheong tweeting “Ricky Gervais just came out against trans wokeism” and detractors such as the UK-based LGBTQ-focused news site PinkNews tweeting “Ricky Gervais' new Netflix special is nothing more than an anti-trans garbage fire.”

See Also: Why Is Dave Chappelle's Stand-Up Not Included In Netflix's Upcoming Comedy Specials?

Why It Matters: Netflix generated the ire of many transgender activists and faced a brief walkout of its workforce last year over Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer,” which included humor that some people considered to be transphobic.

Earlier this month, Netflix issued an update of its culture memo to its workforce that seemed to foreshadow the grumbling created by the Gervais special.

“Not everyone will like — or agree with — everything on our service,” said the artistic expression section of the memo. “While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

Last month, Tesla Inc TSLA CEO and potential Twitter owner Elon Musk complained that the “woke mind virus” is making Netflix unwatchable.

Photo: Ray Burmiston/Netflix

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