A petition to remove Ricky Gervais’ ableist remarks from his Netflix comedy show has over 4,000 signatures.
The Office star, 62, has been marketing his current movie, Armageddon, ahead of its release on Christmas Day, but his use of language and words has caused much criticism.
Gervais laughs about recording films for terminally sick children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation in one segment of his stand-up, which he published on social media.
At one point, he calls them ‘baldies’, and says: ‘Why didn’t you wish to get better? What, you f***ing re****ed as well?’
The comments were condemned on Instagram, especially by reality star Ashley Cain, who sadly lost his own eight-month-old daughter Azaylia to cancer.
He wrote: ‘I was actually a fan of Ricky Gervais but after watching his stand up with my family and hearing multiple jokes about terminally ill children and especially kids with cancer I had to turn it off.
‘Some things are not funny, especially to the parents that are left behind. You can get cancelled in this world for so much, yet making a mockery of dying children is ok? I’m so mad at this!’
A petition has now been created to axe the skit from the Netflix special, reaching 3,942 signatures at the time of writing.
Titled ‘Demand Netflix to Remove Ricky Gervais’s Offensive Skit Mocking Terminally Ill Children’, the creator of the petition explains: ‘I am writing this petition as a parent whose child, Katy, 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. It mocks the courage and resilience of these young fighters who face their illness with grace and beauty despite their baldness.’
She goes on to claim that Gervais’ remarks are “not only distasteful, but 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.’
The statement goes on to say that the children who are diagnosed with cancer deserve ‘respect and empathy’, not ‘mockery or ridicule’.
She says: ‘The sheer disrespect and disgust in Ricky Gervais’s jokes about asking a terminally ill child, questioning “Why they didn’t wish to get better?”, and resorting to derogatory language are infuriating.
‘This is not only unfunny but deeply offensive. I can’t comprehend how a writer or anyone at Netflix could greenlight such appalling content. We must demand the removal of this skit.
‘Gervais has provoked the anger of parents living with their child diagnosed with cancer, and we won’t back down in fiercely advocating for them. He completely crossed the line.
‘Our children are not a punchline, their lives aren’t a joke.’
Many cancer sufferers and parents of terminally sick children have sent similar statements on the petition.
One wrote: ‘Signing because my cancer warrior went through hell. She isn’t a punchline and neither are all of these other warriors that had their childhood ripped away from them. I’m signing this for the families that witnessed this torture and suffered alongside their babies.’
Another said: ‘I am a childhood cancer survivor. I have fought many ugly battles to save my life. This man has NO right using our stories as jokes. Using children who are dying, as a comedy skit. Calling terminally ill children “baldy” and “r*****ed” is just disgusting. The fact that Netflix is allowing this skit to be aired is even more disheartening. Childhood cancer is not a joke and not meant to have comedy skits use our pain and suffering for views/content. We don’t get enough funding and research as it is, and now we’re getting made fun of for dying. What is this world we’re living in.’
Gervais’ comments have also been blasted by charity Scope, who shared a statement on social media on Tuesday night, saying it ‘didn’t accept’ his explanation to ‘try and justify’ his language, after he claimed to not use ‘the R-word in real life’, before ‘joking’ about it again.
Gervais is no stranger to controversy, and he has a reputation for shocking people with politically incorrect remarks.
He allegedly had to increase security when visiting the United States earlier this year after getting death threats.
Source My Celebrity Life.