British comedian Ricky Gervais has been attacked and condemned as “transphobic” and “bigoted” after he described transgender reality TV star Bruce Jenner as “brave” and a “role model” at the Golden Globes film awards.
Mr. Gervais spared no punches through out the show, which he was presenting. He took aim at Ben Affleck’s adultery, grandstanding feminist multimillionaires such as Jennifer Lawrence and even Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism and Schindler’s List.
One joke, however, did not go down so well. Referring to his offensive jokes at last year’s awards, he said, “I’m nice”, and quipped:
“I’ve changed. Not as much as Bruce Jenner, obviously. Now Caitlyn Jenner, of course. She’s become a role model for trans people everywhere. Showing great bravery in breaking down stereotypes. She didn’t do a lot for women drivers. But you can’t have everything. Not at the same time.”
Despite the joke about the transgendered celebrity being peppered with compliments, the Huffington Post, Pink News, Buzzfeed and others online immediately denounced Mr. Gervais as “transphobic and bigoted”.
experiencing ricky gervais is the same experience emotionally as accidentally sitting on a wet toilet seat in a public restroom
— toal dameron (@ohkayewhatever) January 11, 2016
Ricky Gervais is back as Golden Globes host, and it took about 3.2 seconds for a bigoted trash joke. Deadnaming Caitlyn Jenner. 🚮🚮🚮
— Erika Sorensen (@eiridescent) January 11, 2016
Ricky Gervais is disgusting so I'm not really surprised when he's pulling transphobic jokes but
— ida (@doitbackwards) January 11, 2016
The joke referred to a car crash which Caitlyn Jenner was involved in, rather than anything to do with her transgendered ‘identity’. Mr. Jenner has been accused of dangerous driving after speeding into the back of other vehicles, killing one woman.
He also went on to joke that actor Jeffrey Tambor “has balls” for playing a transgendered woman in Amazon’s new transgender sitcom ‘Transparent’, which has been condemned by trans activists for casting an non-transgendered actor in the roll.
@JL_Burroughs it wasn't transphobic in the slightest. It was a joke about a transgender person's driving.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 11, 2016
“Can’t wait for people to start reporting that I offended some people at The Golden Globes. Of course I fucking did,” added the comedian on Twitter, referring to the fact the Golden Globes hired him for a third time this year, specifically because his offensive jokes proved popular in the past.
This year, despite the jokes actually praising transgender people, and either being aimed a male actor or the lethal driving of a transgendered person, many left wing activists see transgender issues as completely off limits for comedians.
Trans people are “oppressed” they say, and as as Will Self has argued, comedy should only “punch up” rather that down. Accordingly, no jokes can be made about a designated victim group.
“I know his thing is to make fun of everything, but I think if more people understood the violence trans people face every day, it would be harder to make jokes about it,” said Transparent creator Jill Soloway to BuzzFeed last night.
“Of course, Gervais’ trans jokes falling flat doesn’t mean they didn’t still add yet more anti-trans sentiment to the world tonight, but hopefully the dour response will dissuade anyone else from following in his smarmy footsteps on a national stage in the future”, Transgender blogger Lexie Cannes wrote today.