Netflix has reaffirmed its commitment to transphobic comedy with Ricky Gervais’ latest special SuperNature. The streamer faced criticism after standing behind Dave Chappelle’s controversial act, and now Gervais–as he is wont to do–took things even further with possibly even more virulent transphobic jokes.
Here’s a sampling (courtesy of Variety), which is both blandly typical transphobic logic as well as violently hateful rhetoric:
“Oh, women! Not all women, I mean the old-fashioned ones. The old-fashioned women, the ones with wombs. Those fucking dinosaurs. I love the new women. They’re great, aren’t they? The new ones we’ve been seeing lately. The ones with beards and cocks. They’re as good as gold, I love them. And now the old-fashioned ones say, ‘Oh, they want to use our toilets.’ ‘Why shouldn’t they use your toilets?’ ‘For ladies!’ ‘They are ladies—look at their pronouns! What about this person isn’t a lady?’ ‘Well, his penis.’ ‘Her penis, you fucking bigot!’ ‘What if he rapes me?’ ‘What if she rapes you, you fucking TERF whore?’”
Gervais goes on to make a confusing joke about Twitter cancellations, saying “You won’t find a ten year old tweet saying ‘Women don’t have penises.’ You know why? We didn’t think we fucking had to!” Of course, transphobia has been around longer than Twitter has. But the murky comparison to the current rise of TERF discourse to the kind of casual bigotry that gets people in trouble in old resurfaced tweets is… accurate, we guess?
Perhaps most bafflingly, the comedian claims at the end of the special: “In real life of course I support trans rights. I support all human rights, and trans rights are human rights.” He then adds, “Live your best life. Use your preferred pronouns. Be the gender that you feel you are. But meet me halfway, ladies. Lose the cock. That’s all I’m saying.”
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos previously defended Chappelle’s transphobia by saying, “We don’t allow titles [on] Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line.” It’s hard to imagine how Gervais’ special, which draws a direct connection between trans women and rapists, does not “incite hate or violence.”
At this point, Netflix–the comedy division, if not the entire company–is not just passively supporting transphobic creators, but seem to be actively courting a transphobic audience. Coming on the heels of recent layoffs, in which the company let go many contractors specifically hired for LGBTQ+ content and from otherwise marginalized communities, it’s certainly a troubling trend for the future of the streamer.