Netflix Faces Renewed Criticism After Ricky Gervais Special Mocks Trans Women

Ricky Gervais and Netflix are the subject of controversy after the comedian's special, SuperNature, featured jokes about the trans community.

By Cydney Contreras May 24, 2022 6:19 PMTags
Watch: Netflix & Ricky Gervais Face Backlash for Trans Jokes

Netflix is facing renewed criticism after Ricky Gervais' Netflix comedy special featured offensive jokes about the trans community.

In the comedy special SuperNature, released May 24, Gervais made multiple comments about trans women, including openly trans actress Eddie Izzard, who Gervais said, "Was brilliant in that thing as that man."

Gervais spoke about trans women's physical appearances, remarking, "The new ones we've been seeing lately. The ones with beards and c--ks. They're as good as gold, I love them."

He then discussed Kevin Hart's decision to step down as the 2019 Oscars host after homophobic tweets resurfaced. Gervais, who hosted the Golden Globes five times, said that it's difficult to "predict what will be offensive in the future" as there's no telling who the "dominant mob will be."

"Like, the worst thing you can say today—get you cancelled on Twitter, death threats—the worst thing you can say today is, ‘Women don't have penises,' right?" he continued. "Now, no one saw that coming. You won't find a ten-year-old tweet of someone saying, ‘Women don't have penises.' You know why? We didn't think we f--king had to!"

The Evolution of LGBTQ+ Representation in Film

Gervais ended the special by saying he supports the trans community, saying, "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 c--k. That's all I'm saying."

E! News reached out to Gervais' reps for comment.

Gervais has previously made transphobic comments, tweeting in 2019 that he relishes in the backlash. "I don't try to offend, but the more people are offended by a joke, particularly on twitter, the funnier I find it," he wrote. "And the angrier the tweet, the more chance of me using it and turning it to laughs and cash. PC culture isn't killing comedy. It's driving it. As it always did."

Rich Fury/Getty Images

This comes more than six months after Dave Chappelle's comedy special, The Closer, sparked a conversation about Netflix's inclusion of hate speech. In Chappelle's special, the comedian compared genitalia of trans women to vegetarian meat substitutes and said that "gender is a fact," among other offensive comments.

Chappelle's special was criticized by numerous members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos defended Chappelle in a company-wide memo after the backlash, writing that Netflix also uplifts LGBTQ+ comedians like Hannah Gadsby

In response, Gadsby wrote in an open letter to Sarandos, "I would prefer if you didn't drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle's fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view."

Watch: Dave Chappelle Speaks Out After Netflix Special Backlash

Sarandos eventually backtracked in an interview with Deadline: "I screwed up the internal communication," Sarandos said. "I feel I should've made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made, and I should've recognized upfront before going into a rationalization of anything the pain they were going through."

Though Sarandos acknowledged that he made a mistake in communicating with LGBTQ+ employees, he said that he doesn't believe Chappelle's special should include a disclaimer about the remarks made, as employees suggested. 

For his part, Chappelle isn't remorseful. The comedian said that he doesn't believe anything he said was offensive, which was reportedly confirmed by his LGBTQ+ friends who were "loving and supportive" of him.

E! News reached out to Netflix for comment and didn't hear back.

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