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09th Dec 2023

Viewers petition to cancel Ricky Gervais’ Netflix special over ableist slur

Nina McLaughlin

People are petitioning to cancel Ricky Gervais’ Netflix special due to his use of ableist slurs

A petition to cancel the special, which is set to be released on Christmas Day, has reached 4,500 signatures.

Gervais shared a preview of his set online, but one of his jokes did not land with viewers.

The comedian was discussing making videos for terminally ill kids for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but the language used has been slammed by viewers.

He refers to the kids as “baldies,” and adds: “Why didn’t you wish to get better? What, are you f***ing r*****ed as well?”

Social media users have responded to his comments with shock and fury.

One person wrote: “This is the most vile attempt at “comedy” I’ve ever seen. Sick and dying children wish for a video from him, and he mocks them like this? Shame on you @rickygervais. Children fighting for their life are NO laughing matter. I have no respect for this man.”

“For a man who profited so heavily from a tv programme that had cancer as a central plot point this feels really weird,” a second said on X, formerly Twitter, in reference to his show After Life.

A third put: “We can all take a good joke but this is below the belt for him and not one part of making jokes about ill children is funny. Vile.”

The petition to cancel the special, titled Demand Netflix to Remove Ricky Gervais’s Offensive Skit Mocking Terminally Ill Children, was started by Sess Cova, who revealed that they started the petition “as a parent whose child, Katy, bravely battled cancer”.

“The sheer disrespect and disgust in Ricky Gervais’s jokes about asking terminally ill children, questioning ‘Why they didn’t wish to get better?’, and resorting to derogatory language are infuriating,” the creator continued.

“This is not just unfunny but deeply offensive. I can’t comprehend how a writer or anyone at Netflix could green light such appalling content.”