Viewers slam Ricky Gervais for making trans women 'a punchline' in new Netflix special
Social media users began speaking out against jokes the 60-year-old British comedian and After Life star makes in the first few minutes of the show, which many have labeled as discriminatory against trans women.
"Ugh, women. Not all women; I mean the old-fashioned ones, the old-fashioned women, you know, the ones with wombs. Those f---ing dinosaurs," Gervais says in the first five minutes of the special. "I love the new women. I knew the new women, I know there are new women, they're great, aren't they? The new ones, the ones with beards and c--ks. They're as good as gold, I love them."
He goes on to reference the ongoing debate over which public bathrooms trans women have a right to use, mocking their pronouns in the process: "They are ladies, look at their pronouns," he explains, noting that "his penis" is the only thing about "this person" that "isn't a lady."
"'What if he rapes me?'" Gervais mockingly asks. "What if she rapes you, you f---ing TERF whore."
"5 minutes in and he's making jokes about trans women attacking & raping people in public bathrooms," one Twitter user wrote following the special's debut. "To him we exist only as a punchline, a threat, something less than human."
A review for the English publication The Independent also called out Gervais' jokes as existing solely for the "humiliation" of trans people.
"If you support Ricky Gervais in ANY WAY, you are not an ally of trans people," another user tweeted. "You are not an ally of mine."
Though some supported Gervais' comments as satirizing what they called "nonsense" in liberal ideologies, LGBTQ+ community supporters were emphatic in labeling the performer's jokes as archaic.
"Every single day I log into twitter and see more nuanced and original comedy from trans girls s--- posting than I've ever seen from Comedians like Ricky Gervais throughout their entire career," another tweeted. "I'm starting to suspect they're the ones that don't understand comedy."
EW has reached out to representatives for Gervais and Netflix for comment on both the inclusion of the jokes about trans women in SuperNature as well as the online response to the special.
Gervais' jokes come after several high-profile celebrities have come under fire in recent years for perceived anti-trans stances, including Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, whom many have labeled a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) for her comments on trans women, and comedian Dave Chappelle, who also drew ire from the LGBTQ+ community for making jokes many deemed to be anti-trans in his 2021 stand-up special The Closer.
"Dave stands by his Art. Both sides of the street are talking and Dave is listening," Chappelle's rep previously told PEOPLE after the star received intense backlash over the special, which led to several Netflix employees staging a walkout. "At some point, when everyone is open, I'm sure our communities will come together."
Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, and what Bob the Drag Queen is watching, on EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.