Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais has found himself embroiled in controversy for tweeting transphobic “jokes” ahead of the January 5 ceremony. Gervais’s tweets were prompted by author J.K. Rowling’s tweet in support of Maya Forstater, a cisgendered woman who was fired from her job after tweeting that a person cannot change their biological sex.
Gervais’s twitter rant began as a reply to @JarvisDupont, who tweeted a satirical article from the perspective of a trans woman angry with J.K. Rowling. Gervais tweeted, “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.” When another account replied to Gervais “kindness is magic,” Gervais doubled down on the seemingly transphobic comments writing, “Exactly. 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.”
After receiving criticism for these tweets, Gervais claimed that it was all a joke. After one Twitter user called Gervais out for the real harm his words could do to members of the trans community, Gervais tweeted the following: “I do. I also make jokes about AIDS, Cancer, Famine and The Holocaust. Those things do a bit of harm too. But jokes don’t. Have a nice day.” Twitter user @MariaMariley hit the nail on the head when she asked Gervais to clarify his stance toward the trans community, because if he was telling a joke “it fell flat.” Gervais responded, “That’s why it’s free.” Here’s hoping that Gervais comes up with better material for the Globes.