Ricky Gervais appears to have responded to Frankie Boyle’s criticism of his “lazy” reliance on transphobic jokes, by claiming he “looks down on everyone equally”.
Boyle criticised the comedian’s endless tired jokes about trans people on Monday while appearing on podcast Grounded with Louis Theroux, saying of Gervais: “[He’s not a stand-up], he sort of went into that after The Office. So if you’re a stand-up watching him, you feel like, oh, this is someone doing a version of this thing we do.
“Really, it’s more that I saw his routine about trans people, and I thought it was very lazy. I would like him to have the same respect for trans people that he seems to have for animals. I think that’s not a lot to ask.”
He quipped of the comic’s vocal support of animal rights charity PETA: “Going on about loving animals? Suspect.”
Ricky Gervais says he ‘looks down on everyone equally’
Responding on Twitter, Gervais made clear: “I look down on everyone equally.”
When his fans branded Boyle a “nonce” and noted his own record of offensive jokes about disabled people, Gervais responded with a laughter emoji.
The comedian also shared several photos of himself with animals, writing: “Have a great day.”
In lieu of telling funny jokes in his 2018 Netflix special Humanity, Gervais opted to dedicate a 15-minute segment to repeating Caitlyn Jenner’s birth name over and over for laughs, before likening trans people to himself “self-identifying as a chimpanzee” – reheating the same tired gag that right-wing comics have leaned on for the best part of a decade.
Comic has a troubling record on trans issues
Gervais has repeatedly doubled down over the issue since, and appeared to align himself with ‘gender critical’ activists on Twitter in 2019 when he suggested trans equality would “erode” women’s rights.
He wrote: “Those awful biological women can never understand what it must be like for you becoming a lovely lady so late in life. They take their girly privileges for granted. Winning at female sports and having their own toilets. Well, enough is enough.”
The comic claimed there were “male predators hiding beneath the trans umbrella and exploiting self ID to abuse women”, adding: “We need 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.”
He went on to claim that supporters of trans rights have “created a dogma with its own blasphemy laws”.
Gervais has denied he is transphobic, claiming in January before he hosted the Golden Globes: “I just say I’m not. And there’s nothing else you can say, you know? Yeah, I’m not. I can justify the jokes, but I get it.
“Some people, when you deal with contentious issues or taboo subjects, the very mention of them is the sacrilege. That’s why they stay taboo. People straight away, particularly with a comedian, if you’re joking about a subject, they think you’re anti it as opposed to pro it.
“I’ve tried to explain this in Humanity. It’s an occupational hazard of being outspoken. I think offence is the collateral damage of free speech, and it’s no reason not to have free speech.”