British comedian and creator of The Office and After Life, Ricky Gervais, continued his assault on cancel culture, saying that it is “not cool” to try to get people fired over supposedly offensive statements.
The longtime defender of freedom of speech said that “everyone’s got a different definition of cancel culture”, but noted that the pernicious form of the modern-day mob tactic is when people target people’s livelihoods.
“If it is choosing not to watch a comedian because you don’t like them, that’s everyone’s right. But when people are trying to get someone fired because they don’t like their opinion about something that’s nothing to do with their job, that’s what I call cancel culture, and that’s not cool,” Gervais told The Metro.
“You turning off your own TV isn’t censorship. You trying to get other people to turn off their TV because you don’t like something they’re watching, that’s different,” the comedian explained.
Possibly alluding to the Count Dankula scandal in which the regional government fined the Scottish comedian for jokingly recording his girlfriend’s — now wife’s — pug dog doing Nazi salutes, Gervais warned that jokes are in danger of being criminalised in the cancel culture climate.
“Everyone’s allowed to call you an asshole, everyone’s allowed to stop watching your stuff, everyone’s allowed to burn your DVDs, but you shouldn’t have to go to court for saying a joke that someone didn’t like. And that’s what we get dangerously close to,” The Office star warned.
“If you don’t agree to someone’s right to say something you don’t agree with, you don’t agree with freedom of speech,” Gervais pronounced.
Had a chat with Breitbart over Scotlands new proposed hate crime bill that infringes on the human right of free speech.https://t.co/2br7xfRoMW
— Count Dankula🏴🏳️🌈 #BLM (@CountDankulaTV) July 26, 2020
In July, Mr Gervais said that today’s hostile environment against comedy would have made creating The Office impossible.
“Now [the show] would suffer because people would take things literally. There are these outrage mobs who take things out of context,” he explained.
The self-described “old fashioned liberal lefty, champagne socialist type of guy,” has long been praised by conservatives and libertarians for his staunch defence of freedom of speech and offensive jokes.
Gervais wrote in 2019 that he is “a pro-equality, opportunity-for-all, welfare state snowflake. But, if I ever defend freedom of speech on here, I’m suddenly an alt-right nazi. How did that happen?”
In his latest stance against the woke mob, Gervais decried the iconoclasts that have sought to erase British historical figures for their perceived racism.
“I did a tweet a month ago about freedom of speech, quoting Winston Churchill. Someone came back with, ‘You know he was a white supremacist?’ And I wrote back, ‘Not in that tweet he isn’t,’” he said.
“It’s like if someone did something once that’s wrong, everything they did was wrong. You are allowed to have things in common with bad people as long it’s not the bad things. I’m a vegetarian and I love dogs, like Hitler. But the only thing I have in common with Hitler are the good bits!” Gervais joked.
Ricky Gervais called out ‘fascists’ that shut down free speech, saying: “if you’re mildly conservative on Twitter people call you Hitler.” https://t.co/uuIxBGV9tV
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 12, 2020
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka