Comedian Ricky Gervais says that if platforms like Twitter and YouTube attempt to “cancel” him, he’ll “go to Hyde Park and stand up on a bench and shout s**t.”
Gervais joined hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes for the latest episode of their “Smartless” podcast, and he made it clear that he was not going to go quietly if “cancel culture” ever came for him. (RELATED: Ricky Gervais Blasts The ‘New Weird Sort Of Fascism’ Of Targeting ‘Hate Speech’)
LISTEN (1:05:30 mark):
Gervais, who has often been critical of cancel culture, explained that one of the real dangers was in the way it was applied retroactively to punish people for things they had said or done years ago — whether or not that was a reflection of who they were now.
“You could be the most woke, politically correct stand-up in the world at the moment, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like in 10 years time. You can get canceled for things you said 10 years ago because you don’t know what it’s going to be like,” Gervais said.
Gervais went on to say that he wasn’t advocating for people to be able to say whatever they wanted without any consequences or criticism. “We’re members of society and people are allowed to criticize you,” he said. “They’re allowed to not buy your things. They’re allowed to burn your DVDs and they’re allowed to turn the telly off. What they’re not allowed to do is to bully other people into not going to see you.”
The other main concern Gervais noted was that people were being “canceled” and losing their jobs or their reputations for things that had no bearing on what they did for a living. “There are some people that are great doctors. They’re getting fired from a hospital because of a bad joke they made on Twitter,” he explained. “That’s not relevant to what they do.”
Gervais made it clear that he was not terribly concerned about his own potential cancellation, saying, “What is being canceled? It’s having no platform. And what can they do to me? Because I’ve got this now. Who’s gonna cancel me? Twitter? YouTube? If I have to, I’ll go to Hyde Park and stand up on a bench and shout s**t.”
“An idiot stands next to a genius on Twitter and it looks the same. It’s the same font,” Gervais concluded, noting that on platforms like Twitter, people seemed to be “offended by facts.” “Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t mean you’re right.”