Ricky Gervais slams critics of Netflix special after petition demands removal of joke


Ricky Gervais is fighting back against critics of his latest controversial joke. 

In his upcoming Netflix special titled, “Armageddon,” Gervais, 62, jokingly refers to young cancer patients as “baldy.”

“I’ve been doing video messages recently for terminally ill children — and only if they request it, obviously. I didn’t burst into hospitals and go, ‘Wake up baldy!’ Watch me twerking on TikTok,'” Gervais said in the “Make a Wish” video teaser. 

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Ricky Gervais addressed the backlash he has received for making a joke about working with terminally ill patients through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (Getty Images)

After an uproar of laughter was heard in the audience, Gervais continued to explain how he worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, especially through the pandemic.

Gervais went on to praise how “great” the nonprofit organization is and how the charity graciously fulfills the wishes of children with a critical illness. He continued to joke about how he creates video messages for the kids. 

“I always start the video the same way. I go, ‘Why didn’t you wish to get better?’’ he joked in the video. “What, are you f—ing r—-ted, as well?”

 

The stand-up comedian clarified that he does not actually have that discussion with terminally ill patients and added, “I didn’t do that either. Okay? These are all jokes, all right? I don’t even use that word in real life, the R-word… I’m playing a role.”

Since the video teaser was released, a petition has been created to demand Netflix remove Gervais’ “offensive skit mocking terminally ill children.”

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The Change.org petition, started on Nov. 30, has gained more than 12,500 signatures. The goal is listed as 15,000. 

“I am writing this petition as a parent whose child, bravely battled cancer. The recent skit by Ricky Gervais on Netflix, where he refers to terminally ill children as “baldy”, is not just disrespectful but also deeply hurtful,” the description reads in part.

Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes

Comedian Ricky Gervais jokes about working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation on his Netflix special “Armageddon.” (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via Getty Images)

“Ricky Gervais’s jokes were not only distasteful but also heartless. They are a slap in the face to not only the children battling these serious illnesses but also their parents and families who stand by them through this difficult journey. His words have offended an entire community – those dealing with childhood cancer.”

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Gervais posted a warning to viewers on X about the upcoming Netflix comedy special. 

“In this show, I talk about sex, death, paedophilia, race, religion, disability, free speech, global warming, the holocaust, and Elton John. If you don’t approve of jokes about any of these things, then please don’t watch. You won’t enjoy it and you’ll get upset.”

He additionally reacted to the petition on BBC Radio’s “Headliners” podcast. 

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Ricky Gervais at the premiere of "Special Correspondents"

In his Netflix special titled “Armageddon,” Ricky Gervais jokes about calling young cancer patients “baldy.” (Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

“It’s sort of like a reaction. They don’t analyze it. They feel something. That’s what offense is,” Gervais said. “It’s a feeling, you know? That’s why, ‘I’m offended,’ is quite meaningless. Because what’s your argument? What do you want me to change?”

Gervais continued, telling the podcast that critiques of his work are “toothless,” saying “people try and stir up trouble, it just fizzles out… for every one person who goes you shouldn’t joke about that, there’s a thousand that say ‘yes you should’.” He also acknowledged the controversial nature of his comedy, saying, ‘eventually I will offend everyone once.”

Reps for Gervais and Netflix did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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