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Some Members of Trans Community Support Ricky Gervais Amid Netflix Backlash

Newsweek 5/31/2022 Jamie Burton
Ricky Gervais has received both praise and criticism for telling jokes about the transgender community in his recent Netflix special "SuperNature," available to watch now. © Gareth Cattermole / Hollie Adams/Getty Images Ricky Gervais has received both praise and criticism for telling jokes about the transgender community in his recent Netflix special "SuperNature," available to watch now.

Ricky Gervais' latest stand-up special on Netflix has caused a Twitter uproar after he was accused of telling "transphobic" jokes, but some member of the trans community have spoken out in support of him.

The Office co-creator's latest stand-up show, titled SuperNature, is dividing opinions online as the debate rages on as to whether the material is offensive and damaging to the trans community. He's not the first comedian to be called out for supposed "transphobic" material, after Dave Chappelle was also criticized for it in his 2021 Netflix special.

The special was released last week and the debate about the true target of his trans-centric material continues to be discussed. Many accuse the jokes and the special of being insulting to the trans community but other people have reacted in a positive way.

Gervais has publicly expressed himself as "pro-trans" in the past and recently told The Spectator that his target isn't "trans folk, but trans activist ideology." The comedian has reacted to a couple of people from the trans-community who've expressed their support for him on Twitter.

Journalist and transgender person Debbie Hayton wrote: "Gervais might be privileged— but he uses his position to speak truth to power. Trans activist ideology has run unchecked for too long, and it is time to call it to account." Gervais thanked Hayton for this and replied with a heart emoji.

Gervais was also called a "comedic legend" by another Twitter user describing themselves as a "trans guy." @evans_0934 got a thumbs up from Gervais when he wrote: "As someone who does cop a lot of that s*** irl your clarification that you believe trans rights are human rights was appreciated."

Popular YouTuber Blaire White also had positive things to say about Gervais just as the backlash about SuperNature was starting to rise on Twitter. "Ricky Gervais has been supportive of me, a trans woman, for years," she wrote. "He is not transphobic. He is bull****phobic."

Video: Ricky Gervais Doesn't Think His New Netflix Special is Controversial (Yahoo Entertainment US)

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While these people and others have expressed their support of Gervais, many more have discussed how damaging they found the jokes within SuperNature.

Journalist Ryan Coogan for The Independent called the special "nothing but cancel culture porn" and also criticized Netflix for continually "airing boring conservative lectures disguised as comedy."

"Shame on Netflix for broadcasting the transphobic content in the Ricky Gervais SuperNature standup," Twitter user @Evecornwell wrote, getting over 1,700 likes. "A full hour degrading the experiences of a marginalized community? With a whole crowd laughing + enabling him? That's not comedy that's glorified hate speech. Gross."

The Twitter account of @billiefridayxl reminded followers that "Ricky Gervais blocked all the trans accounts before his special came out. Take that as you will." The story of Gervais searching for his own name on Twitter and then blocking people who said bad things about him started reoccurring online. Comedy writer Chase Mitchell recalled an incident where he got caught out by Gervais.

"One time Ricky Gervais searched his name on twitter, saw that I said he wasn't funny, then tried to get me fired by tagging my boss in a tweet about it." Mitchell said. "Anyway he's 100 percent reading everything you're saying."

Gervais had been working on his material for SuperNature since late 2018. He toured the show through 2019 and 2020 but had to postpone a portion of his tour because of the pandemic. He resumed the tour again from August 2021. The Netflix special was recorded at the London Palladium in 2021 and is available to watch on the streaming platform now.

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