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Ricky Gervais sparks backlash for jokes about transgender people in new Netflix special


A week before the start of Pride month, comedian Ricky Gervais is being criticized for his new stand-up special, in which he pokes fun at transgender women and the debate around bathroom access.

The special, called “SuperNature,” debuted Tuesday on Netflix.

Minutes into filming, Gervais describes reading a comment from someone calling it “as funny as a fart at a baby’s funeral” and cuts to a joke about women. From there, he clarifies: “The old-fashioned women, those who have bellies”.

He goes on to refer to debates over access to toilets.

“And now the old-fashioned are saying, ‘Oh, they want to use our toilets.’ “Why wouldn’t they use your toilet?” ‘For ladies!’ “They are ladies – look at their pronouns! What about this person who is not a woman? “Well, his penis.” ‘His penis, you fucking fanatic!'”

Gervais shares his thoughts on cancel culture, calling it “virtue signaling.” Later in the special, the comedian says he supports transgender rights in real life but scoffs at the subject because he doesn’t care about anything.

“Trans rights are human rights. Live your best life. Use your favorite pronouns. Be the kind you feel you are,” he says. “But meet me halfway, ladies. Losing the c**k.

Gervais and Netflix were encountered a backlash online within hours of the release of the special, with some calling Gervais’s remarks for being transphobic and the streaming giant for giving them a platform.

Netflix did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Gervais has been described as an “equal opportunity offender”, a comedian with a history of polarizing jokes. And this isn’t the first time Netflix has come under fire for giving transphobic views a platform. Dave Chappelle has made jokes about transgender people in several Netflix specials, most recently in late 2021 when he made explicit jokes about transgender women’s bodies in his special “The Closer.”

Several trans rights advocates, including some Netflix employees, and civil rights organizations at the time called on the company to remove Chappelle’s special.

In a description of its organizational culture, Netflix outlines the company’s position on artistic expression.

“Not everyone will like – or agree with – everything about our service,” read a statement on the company’s website. “While each title is different, we approach them with 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 right for them, rather than Netflix censoring specific artists or voices.

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