Ricky Gervais has joined the ranks of older comedians making transphobic jokes on stage. Just hours after Gervais' Netflix comedy special SuperNature was released early Tuesday, the comedian has come under fire for harmful, anti-trans sentiments expressed throughout the hour.
As reported by Variety, Gervais launches into jokes about the trans community just four minutes into his special. “Oh, women! Not all women — I mean the old-fashioned ones. The old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs. Those fucking dinosaurs,” he 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.”
“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 fucking bigot!’ ‘What if he rapes me?’ ‘What if she rapes you, you fucking TERF whore?’”
Gervais continues, “You can’t predict what will be offensive in the future. You don’t know who the dominant mob will be. Like, the worst thing you can say today, get you cancelled on Twitter, 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 ten year old tweet saying ‘Women don’t have penises.’ You know why? We didn’t think we fucking had to!”
Later in his special, Gervais adds, “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 you are. But meet me halfway, ladies. Lose the cock. That’s all I’m saying.”
After Gervais' special dropped, many Twitter users expressed their outrage at the harmful nature of his jokes, with some even claiming to cancel their Netflix subscriptions as a result.
Ricky Gervais has a new stand up show out on Netflix today.— Esme (@discount_Ripley) May 24, 2022
5 minutes in and he’s making jokes about trans women attacking & raping people in public bathrooms. To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human.
Ricky Gervais is just an incredibly lazy comedian who hasn't worked out that just because you're offensive it doesn't mean you're funny.— Charlie C🚩 🇵🇸 (@CharlieXCaine) May 24, 2022
His fans now seem to consist of right wing twats who think cruelty is funny simply by virtue of it being cruel and "triggering the libs". https://t.co/KG2RdDkL2K
Seems like the Ricky Gervais special has justified my decision to cancel my Netflix sub all those months ago https://t.co/g5BYpodTxP— Star Trot: Strange New Herds (@HoovesAreBetter) May 24, 2022
Fuck Ricky Gervais and anyone who thinks they can issue a catch-all "i'm not a bigot statement" and use it as a free pass to shit on trans folks. https://t.co/cVHuPBjmqE— Ioneenknoyo (@DubJ) May 24, 2022
It's getting worse this year. Yesterday Parliament had MPs discussing "the trans question". Their words!— UnicornsRock 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@UnicornsRockUK) May 24, 2022
And now today there's Ricky Gervais.
Trans people are going to end up getting killed over this. We need international help. A lifeline. Anything.
The SuperNature controversy comes after Netflix drew criticism for Dave Chappelle's recent comedy special, The Closer, which led to an employee walkout in protest of the comedian's transphobic jokes. Netflix has since insisted it will not censor content its employees find "harmful," saying in a memo, "If you'd find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you."
On Tuesday afternoon, GLAAD issued a statement on Twitter saying, "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 & 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," it continues. "While Netflix is home to some groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own policy in comedy. 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."
This story has been updated to include a statement from GLAAD.
Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.