Ricky Gervais, the comedian famous for taking apart celebrities at award shows, warned in an interview published Friday of society’s troubling trend toward cancel culture.
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Gervais said it goes without saying that it’s everyone’s right to loathe a comedian and to write a funnyman off for being a sexist or offensive. But the problem starts when the offended gets to decide where the bar is and imposes their standards on others.
“You turning off your own TV isn’t censorship,” he told the UK’s Metro newspaper. “You trying to get other people to turn off their TV because you don’t like something they’re watching, that’s different.”
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Gervais has been known to speak truth to power. In January, he hosted the Golden Globes where he called out the Hollywood elite and companies like Apple in a viral opening monologue.
Todd Starnes, the host of the “Todd Starnes Show” and influential conservative voice, praised Gervais at the time for his “brilliant takedown of Hollywood’s virtue signalers.” At one point Gervais told the grimacing crowd, “You know nothing about the real world.”
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He most recently complained about celebrities complaining about life under strict stay-at-home orders and compared them to the health care workers pulling 14-hour shifts.
“But then I see someone complaining about being in a mansion with a swimming pool, and, you know, honestly, I just don’t want to hear it,” he told the Sun newspaper.
Gervais said that he includes himself in the list of those with no right to complain. He told the paper that his father was a laborer and mother his mother never stopped working. Gervais, who said he had no money growing up, is now worth an estimated $125 million and lives in a $13 million home, the Sun reported.
Gervais told Metro that “everyone’s allowed to stop watching your stuff, everyone’s allowed to burn your DVDs, but you shouldn’t have to go to court for saying a joke that someone didn’t like.
“And that’s what we get dangerously close to. If you don’t agree to someone’s right to say something you don’t agree with, you don’t agree with freedom of speech. I did a tweet a month ago about freedom of speech, quoting Winston Churchill. Someone came back with, “You know he was a white supremacist?” And I wrote back, “Not in that tweet he isn’t”. It’s like if someone did something once that’s wrong, everything they did was wrong.”