Ricky Gervais mocks transgender women following in the footsteps of Dave Chappelle in his Netflix comedy special. The British comedian quickly faced backlash, just like Chappelle for his "anti-trans rants" speech to a LGBTQ advocacy group.
Gervais makes fun of "old-fashioned" women in "SuperNature," which was released Tuesday via the streaming service. They have wombs.
He imagines having a conversation about transgender women and how they would react to sharing their bathroom. "They are ladies. Look at their pronouns. Gervais asked, "What about this person who isn't a woman?" Gervais responded, "Well, his penis."
Gervais claimed that his comments were equal-opportunity humor, and not an expression of his views about trans rights or other rights. GLAAD, a group representing LGBTQ and transgender people, retorted that the special violated a Netflix policy against inciting hate or violence.
The media watchdog group stated that they watched the Ricky Gervais "comedy" special on Netflix. It's filled with graphic, dangerous, and anti-trans rants masquerading like jokes," the media watchdog group stated. They also included inaccurate statements about HIV and anti-gay rhetoric.
GLAAD released a statement saying that the LGBTQ community and its allies had made it clear that comedians who use hate instead of humor and media companies that provide them with a platform will be held responsible.
Alexis Rangel is the policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality. She stated that jokes that are based on "dehumanizing myths" about transgender people ignore how these falsehoods fuel hatred, anti-trans violence, and especially for trans teenagers.
She cited a 2015 survey by an organization that showed 54% of transgender children in kindergarten-12th grade were verbally harassed, 24% had their bodies attacked, and 13% were sexually abused.
Rangel stated in a statement that such unfunny humors "give people permission discriminate, harass, and even commit violence."
Netflix and Gervais representatives didn't respond immediately to our requests for comment.
Netflix and Chappelle caused a stir last year when his comedy special "The Closer" was accused by some Netflix employees and gay rights groups of using anti-trans humor. Ted Sarandos (the streaming giant's CEO) declined to remove the special, citing creative liberty. Netflix and Chappelle are still in business together.
In an Instagram video, Chappelle claimed that the media had misinterpreted the dispute as he versus the LGBTQ community. He said the controversy was about corporate interest and what he can and cannot say.
As a Golden Globes host, Gervais is well-known to the public. He won Emmys for his roles in "Extras," comedy, and as a producer on "The Office", based on the British original series of the same title that he co-created.
In the "SuperNature", he mocks trans people early on, where he also attacks Asians and the Holocaust. Later, he defends his method by denying that "a joke can be a window into the soul of a comedian."