Ricky Gervais is under fire again for comments about transgender rights, not long before he is meant to host the Golden Globe Awards. Gervais posted transphobic tweets in response to J.K. Rowling's recent controversy, and many followers were not happy. So far, however, Gervais' gig on the Golden Globes does not seem to be in danger.
Rowling upset a lot of Harry Potter fans last week when she proclaimed her support for Maya Forstater, a British researcher who was fired for discriminating against transgender people in the workplace. Forstater lost a court hearing on Thursday where she was challenging the Centre for Global Development for terminating her, and Rowling took her side.
Gervais did as well, sounding off in a long series of tweets. He began by responding to Jarvis Dupont, a satirical writer who makes fun of "politically correct culture" in tweets and blog posts. Gervais laid on some sarcasm of his own.
"Those awful biological women can never understand what it must be like for you becoming a lovely lady so late in life," he wrote. "They take their girly privileges for granted. Winning at female sports and having their own toilets. Well, enough is enough."
A follower responded advising Gervais to try "kindness," and he tried to turn it around on them. He suggested it would be kinder to "protect the rights of women. Not erode them because some men have found a new cunning way to dominate and demonise an entire sex."
Gervais was met with an onslaught of backlash, and soon began claiming that he had been kidding the entire time. Trans rights activist Julie Miller replied to Gervais, sharing the prevalence of suicide in the transgender community and the dangers of flippant rhetoric.
Just checking you realise my tweet was sarcasm. Not a problem either way, but I don’t want you to look silly 🙏— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) December 20, 2019
"What have you got against men looking after their good mental health?" Miller asked.
"Ah, you've confused a joke tweet to a spoof account with my true feelings. But to answer your question I have nothing against anyone looking after their mental health. Be well," Gervais answered.
He gave a similar response to another user, saying his earlier tweets were "sarcasm." However, some people were unamused, feeling that that Gervais was trying to back-pedal after all the backlash.
If you think Ricky Gervais is standing up for women in his spreading of transphobic conspiracy lies, just a reminder about his rape “jokes” and Aids “jokes”. He’s a 1970s dinosaur not even using irony as a disguise.— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) December 21, 2019
This was just one more piece of an ongoing conversation that has proved challenging for social media and the news cycle to digest. The topic spans questions of legality, civil rights and social justice. However, as far as modern science is concerned, both gender and sex span broad spectrums, not binary systems, according to a simple primer from the UCLA website, and many other reputable researchers.
Rowling's representatives told Insider she will not be commenting any further on this topic, and Gervais has not yet responded to requests for comment from various outlets either. He is still expected to host the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 5 2020 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.