Ricky Gervais: ‘If You’re Mildly Conservative on Twitter People Call You Hitler’

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Ricky Gervais joins fellow SiriusXM host Ron Bennington during "A Night with Ricky Gervais" Event At The Village Undergroundon September 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The creator of The Office, Ricky Gervais, has called out the online “fascists” that want to shut down freedom of speech, saying that “if you’re mildly conservative on Twitter people call you Hitler.”

Continuing on his press tour marking the nineteenth anniversary of The Office, Gervais followed up his criticisms of cancel culture with an attack on the idea of so-called “hate speech”.

“There’s this new weird sort of fascism of people thinking they know what you can say and what you can’t and it’s a really weird thing… that there’s this new trendy myth that people who want free speech want to say awful things all the time. It’s just isn’t true, it protects everyone,” Gervais said in an interview on talkRadio.

The British actor and comedian said that people trying to shut down free speech in the name of combatting “hate speech” are “fascists” who “behind this bit the shield of goodness”, saying: “we’re good, we’re social just warriors, we’re doing this for good and what we say goes… and they don’t realize how corrupt and wrong that is.”

Reflecting on the caustic environment on social media, Gervais said: “If you’re mildly left-wing on Twitter, you’re suddenly Trotsky, right? If your mildly conservative, if you’re Hitler and if your centrist and you look at both arguments, you’re a coward.”

Mr Gervais said that while he backed certain caveats on freedom of speech, such as libel and slander laws, he said that countries should never criminalise speech that “someone, somewhere, might find offensive… because someone, somewhere might find everything offensive.”

“Just because you’re offended it doesn’t mean you’re right,” he added.

He went on to say that in today’s culture the phrase “I’m offended” has replaced the need to craft an argument or use reason.

The comedian explained that it will be impossible to police “hate speech” as there is “no consensus on what hate speech is” and therefore it becomes dangerous for one side to determine the rules around it, as “the people who think they want to close down free speech, because it’s bad, are the fascists.”

On Friday, Gervais said that his BAFTA-winning mockumentary series, The Office, would likely not have been able to have been made today as “outrage mobs” would take things out of context and shut it down. He also lamented that the taxpayer-funded BBC has grown more politically correct and cautious in its programming decisions.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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