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Elliot Page Blasts Transphobic Comedians: 'It's Not a Joke'

Page is speaking out after Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais courted controversy in their recent specials.
  • Elliot Page (Photo: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)
    Elliot Page (Photo: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection)

    Elliot Page is heartbroken over the recent trend of anti-trans jokes in stand-up comedy.

    In an essay for Esquire, Elliot Page, who came out as transgender in 2020, called out comedians for making transphobic jokes that are directly impacting the community at large.

    "It really breaks my heart," wrote Page. "That’s literally all we’re trying to communicate ... When people say, Cancel this. Cancel that. No, they get four more comedy specials and have a jillion followers! The people getting canceled are the trans people who are suffering, or killing themselves, or murdered."

    Although Page did not mention any comics by name, his essay comes after Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais used their Netflix specials as platforms for transphobic jokes, and even doubled down on the jokes in subsequent stand-up sets.

    Page insisted the media is partially to blame for "creating this tension," saying, "People can actually be communicating in a way that isn’t aggressive, but then suddenly it’s all about creating this tension, and then this person doubles down on that! And, like: No. It’s a conversation—which, by the way, is what you’re saying you’re asking for."

    Page then directed his words at the comedians themselves, saying, "Jokes have an impact that hurts people. I understand that people might think it doesn't. I understand that they're not meaning to. But: It's not a joke ... You believe what you're saying."

    "And all we're saying is: Can you just please listen and understand the harm that it causes?" he continued. "That is literally all we are trying to say. And then we get inundated with hatred for saying it. But I'm sorry: You are the ones who don't want to have the conversation. You are the ones who are so sensitive, who can't handle people saying, Hey, can you not do that?"

    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Elliot Page, Netflix, Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais, LGBTQ