In a statement, GLAAD called the special “dangerous,” saying that it consists of “anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes.”
“We watched the Ricky Gervais ‘comedy’ special on Netflix so you don’t have to. It’s full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes. He also spouts anti-gay rhetoric and spreads inaccurate information about HIV,” GLAAD said in the statement. “Attention Ricky and Netflix: people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV to others.”
The statement continues, “Netflix has a policy that content ‘designed to incite hate or violence’ is not allowed on their platform, but we all know that anti-LGBTQ content does exactly that. While Netflix is home to some groundbreaking LGBTQ shows, it refuses to enforce its own policy in comedy. 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. Meanwhile, there are PLENTY of funny LGBTQ comedians to support.”
Representatives for Netflix and Gervais did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
In the special, titled “SuperNature,” Gervais makes several offensive jokes surrounding the trans community, seemingly aware that his comments will stir controversy.
“Oh, women!” Gervais says in the special. “Not all women, I mean the old-fashioned ones. The old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs. Those fucking dinosaurs. 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. 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?’”
Toward the end of the special, Gervais claims that he does support trans rights, but it leads to yet another punchline at the community’s expense: “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.”
This is not the first time Netflix has hosted a comedian’s special containing anti-trans jokes. In October, Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer” led to company walkouts and protests. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the special in a staff memo, saying that he supported Chappelle’s “creative freedom.”
“As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom — even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful,” Sarandos said.
In a statement at the time, Netflix said it encouraged employees to “disagree openly” with the sentiment of Chappelle’s special.
“Dave Chappelle’s specials are consistently the most-watched comedy specials on Netflix, and have earned many awards, including both an Emmy and a Grammy for ‘Sticks & Stones,’” a Netflix spokesperson said. “We support artistic expression for our creators. We also encourage our employees to disagree openly.”