Like Ricky Gervais' Comedy, Netflix's Transphobia Is Getting Old - Rolling Stone
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Like Ricky Gervais’ Comedy, Netflix’s Transphobia Is Getting Old

The special is “full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes,” GLAAD said in a statement

FILE - In this Thursday, March 7, 2019, file photo, Ricky Gervais attends a screening of Netflix's "After Life" at the Paley Center for Media in New York. Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globe Awards. Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globe Awards, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 5, 2020 and aired live on NBC. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)FILE - In this Thursday, March 7, 2019, file photo, Ricky Gervais attends a screening of Netflix's "After Life" at the Paley Center for Media in New York. Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globe Awards. Gervais is returning to host the Golden Globe Awards, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 5, 2020 and aired live on NBC. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Ricky Gervais in 2019

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

You can just say you’re a transphobe, Ricky Gervais. And Netflix, just say you’re okay with anti-LGBTQ content on your platform.

On Tuesday, after Netflix premiered Gervais’ tired special SuperNature, GLAAD released a statement condemning the streaming service for giving the comedian a platform to share anti-trans and anti-gay rhetoric in the form of quote-unquote comedy. (At least Netflix dropped the special before Pride month.)

“It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric & spreads inaccurate information about HIV,” GLAAD tweeted. “Attention Ricky and Netflix: people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV to others. U=U.” (“U=U” stands for “undetectable = untransmittable.”)

GLAAD specifically condemned Netflix’s policy that supposedly prevents content meant to “incite hate or violence,” but how that doesn’t seem to apply to LGBTQ people at the company. (See: Other Worn Out Netflix Comedian Who Hates Trans People, Dave Chapelle.)

“While Netflix is home to some groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own policy in comedy,” the organization wrote. “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.”

It doesn’t get more directly transphobic than Gervais’ set. He starts his special by making jokes about women not being funny — but named Dame Edna Everage (a character played by male comedian Barry Humphries) as one who was, and referred to Eddie Izzard, a trans comedienne, saying “She was brilliant in that thing as that man.” (Izzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Gervais continued his set targeting trans women, as he said he liked the “old-fashioned women: the ones with wombs.”

“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,” Gervais said. “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?’”

The crowd is heard erupting into laughter as Gervais giggles along. He then made fun of “woke comedy,” or whatever that means. (“I’d rather watch Louis CK masturbate. I can’t mention him anymore, he’s canceled,” he said.) He also made jokes about pedophiles and equated people not conforming to the gender binary as a mere trend.

“I could have my legs removed, have wheels put on, identify as a pram, and if you say I’m mental, you’re a bigot,” he said, acknowledging that his “joke” was old-fashioned but also criticizing people who are offended by transphobic jokes. “The one thing you should never joke about is the trans issue… ‘They just want to be treated equally.’ I agree. That’s why I include them.”

At the end of the special, Gervais claimed that “in real life, of course, I support trans rights” but ended the disclaimer with a transphobic joke.

“I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights. Live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns,” he said. “Be the gender that you feel that you are. But meet me halfway, ladies: Lose the cock. That’s all I’m saying.”

Netflix allowing bigoted behavior from comedians like Gervais and Chappelle, who were funny last century, fuels the fire of hatred toward people who are already at the most risk of facing violence for their identities. But Netflix knows that. And the walkout by Netflix’ trans employees and their allies last year after Chappelle’s special proved that. But the streaming giant (whose subscription numbers have been dropping) still doesn’t seem to give a shit.

It’s all about the $$$ here. We all know. And in a week, all eyes will turn to Netflix’s progressive content for the start of pride month.

The “look, we actually love the gays” with rainbow flag ads will pop up on social media, and they’ll celebrate the renewal of shows like Heartstopper. But if Netflix continues welcoming anti-LGBTQ behavior like Gervais’ and Chapelle’s, the streaming service will simply continue to confirm the fact that they never really cared about LGBTQ people. They only want that money, even if it comes from lazy comedy.

Neither Gervais nor Netflix responded to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. Big shocker.

In This Article: LGBT, Netflix, Ricky Gervais

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