Ricky Gervais was called out for jokes that were seemingly transphobic in response to a spoof account

By Ale Russian
January 02, 2020 02:01 PM

Ricky Gervais is clarifying some jokes he made on Twitter that other users found transphobic.

The comedian, 58, initially responded to a tweet regarding Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling‘s support of a British researcher who was fired after expressing anti-transgender sentiments. (Rowling faced backlash after tweeting her support of Maya Forstater after Forstater lost a court hearing challenging her termination from the Centre for Global Development.)

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 tweeted. “They take their girly privileges for granted. Winning at female sports and having their own toilets. Well, enough is enough.”

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, published days before he’s once again set to host the Golden Globe Awards, Gervais explained how the jokes came to be — and how he feels 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 in the cover story.

Ricky Gervais
| Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty

“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 — 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,” he added.

Ricky Gervais
| Credit: Todd Antony/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

In November, it was announced that Gervais would host the upcoming 77th annual Golden Globes, making his fifth time hosting the awards show.

News of Gervais’ casting came after more awards shows have opted to forgo an emcee altogether, starting with the Academy Awards in February of this year. When controversy caused the previously announced Oscars host Kevin Hart to step down, the Academy proceeded with a host-less program.

Gervais — who won a Golden Globe in 2004 for his performance in The Office‘s original U.K. series — previously hosted the show in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016. He will now hold the record for the performer who has hosted the Globes the most.

The Golden Globes air Sunday on NBC.