Comedian Ricky Gervais said Saturday that efforts to curtail “hate speech” have opened the door for a “new weird sort of fascism.”
Gervais told talkRADIO host Kevin O’Sullivan that the move to quell “hate speech” had led to a very difficult environment on social media for people all across the political spectrum. (RELATED: Ricky Gervais Says ‘Outrage Mobs’ Would Have Prevented ‘The Office’ If Produced Today)
“There’s this new weird sort of fascism of people thinking they know what you can say and what you can’t say and it’s a really weird thing that there’s this new trendy myth that people who want free speech want it to say awful things all the time, which just isn’t true. It protects everyone,” Gervais explained.
The comedian went on to say that that even the term “hate speech” was problematic for two main reasons: there is no objective way to define it, and there is no party that can be objective enough to decide what constitutes it.
“The two catastrophic problems with the term ‘hate speech’ is, one, what constitutes hate speech? Everyone disagrees. There’s no consensus on what hate speech is,” Gervais added. “Two, who decides? And there’s the real rub because obviously the people who think they want to close down free speech because it’s bad are the fascists. It’s a really weird, mixed-up idea that these people hide behind a shield of goodness.”
Gervais noted that the current social media climate would make his wildly successful show “The Office,” which inspired the American version starring Steve Carell, very difficult to navigate.
Ricky Gervais says if you’re mildly conservative on Twitter people call you Hitler, and if you hold mildly left-wing views “you are called a Trotsky.”
Is discourse on social media getting too bad?
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) July 11, 2020
“Social media amplifies everything. If you’re mildly left-wing on Twitter you’re suddenly Trotsky. If you’re mildly conservative you’re Hitler and if you’re centrist and you look at both arguments, you’re a coward and they both hate you,” Gervais explained.