Netflix CEO Defends Ricky Gervais's Transphobic Comedy Special
"Nobody would say that what he does isn't thoughtful or smart. You just don't agree with him."
Published May 31, 2022For all of the stellar content on Netflix, the streaming giant has certainly made some choices. Case in point: co-CEO Ted Sarandos has defended self-proclaimed comedian Ricky Gervais taking aim at transgender people in his new special, SuperNature.
Sarandos was recently interviewed by The New York Times — and the timely topic of the backlash against Gervais's latest film (and Netflix's decision to host it) was unavoidable.
"I think it's very important to the American culture generally to have free expression," Sarandos said, leaning on the classic "free speech" straw man argument. "We're programming for a lot of diverse people who have different opinions and different tastes and different styles, and yet we're not making everything for everybody. We want something for everybody but everything's not going to be for everybody."
He added: "Nobody would say that what [Gervais] does isn't thoughtful or smart. You just don't agree with him."
Right, yes, people just don't agree with a man thoughtfully and smartly critiquing the ways in which trans women exist.
Towards the end of the special, Gervais proclaims: "I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights. Live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns. Be the gender that you feel you are." Then, of course, he added: "But meet me halfway, ladies. Lose the cock. That's all I'm saying."
Lest we forget that this is not the first time Netflix has come under fire for platforming transphobic comedy: proud TERF Dave Chappelle, who defended J.K. Rowling in his special The Closer, drew massive criticism last year — even internal to the company, prompting an employee walkout. Afterwards, Sarandos admitted that he "screwed up" for defending Chappelle, but refused to remove The Closer from the streaming service.