Ricky Gervais Slammed for 'Bigot Comedy' About Trans People in New Netflix Special

"To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human," one Twitter user wrote of Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais. Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty

Ricky Gervais is under fire for jokes about the trans community he makes in his new Netflix standup special, SuperNature.

Near the beginning of the hour-long special, the comedian says, "Oh, women! Not all women, I mean the old-fashioned ones. The old-fashioned women β€” you know, the ones with wombs. Those f---ing dinosaurs."

"I love the new women. They're great, aren't they? The new ones we've been seeing lately," continues Gervais, 60. "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 β€” look at their pronouns! What about this person isn't a lady?' "

" 'Well, his penis.' 'Her penis, you f---ing bigot!' 'What if he rapes me?' 'What if she rapes you, you f---ing TERF whore?' " he adds.

In the last 20 minutes of SuperNature, Gervais says, "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 that you are. But meet me halfway, ladies: Lose the cock. That's all I'm saying."

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ricky gervais
Tweets about Ricky Gervais' new Netflix special. Twitter (3)

Many aired their grievances with Gervais over the remarks on Twitter, with one user writing, "Ricky Gervais knows it's easier to be transphobic than to be funny. Bigot comedy is dead easy to perform, you just confirm the hatred of the audience and then you get to go home. No jokes required."

"5 minutes in and he's making jokes about trans women attacking & raping people in public bathrooms," another said, alleging of Gervais, "To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human."

Others came to the star's defense, like one who tweeted, "Surprise, @RickyGervais' new comedy special is receiving backlash for offending people. Ricky Gervais put it best, 'Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right.' "

"Im a trans guy. just watched supernature β€” f---ing hilarious," said another fan. "The 'meet me halfway ladies, lose the cock' had me in stitches πŸ˜‚ as someone who does cop a lot of that s--- irl your clarification that you believe trans rights are human rights was appreciated. comedic legend πŸ‘‘."

Reps for Gervais and Netflix did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

This isn't the first time Gervais has been called out for jokes that were seemingly transphobic. In December 2019, he responded to a tweet about J.K. Rowling's support of a British researcher who was fired after expressing anti-transgender sentiments. (The Harry Potter author, 56, faced backlash after tweeting her support of Maya Forstater after Forstater lost a hearing challenging her termination from the Centre for Global Development.)

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The tweet that Gervais replied to contained a link to a satirical article that was written from the "perspective" of a transgender woman.

"Those awful biological women can never understand what it must be like for you becoming a lovely lady so late in life," Gervais wrote in the tweet. "They take their girly privileges for granted. Winning at female sports and having their own toilets. Well, enough is enough."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, published early the following month, Gervais explained how the jokes came to be β€” and how he felt they were taken in the wrong context.

"Jarvis Dupont is a spoof Twitter account, and the joke is that he's so woke that he's actually gone full circle and does terrible things. And his latest [bit] is, 'I'm trans now.' And he gets all that wrong. And I responded by playing along with him, saying, 'Oh, you're so much better than biological women because they've had a lifetime to get used to it,' " Gervais said.

"Now, people saw my tweet and they thought he's a real trans person, but I'm taking the piss out of Jarvis Dupont, who is actually a woman in real life. And this is the problem," he continued. "You can say, 'Listen, I was joking. It's a joke.' But that's not always enough for people. They go, 'Well, why were you joking?' Also, add to that the nature of Twitter β€” it's so curt, there's no nuance, it's there forever out of context."

"Deep down, I want people to know I'm not a racist or a homophobe or a sexist," Gervais added.

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