Netflix hit with petition after Ricky Gervais uses 'appalling' ableist slur about terminally ill children

Netflix hit with petition after Ricky Gervais uses 'appalling' ableist slur about terminally ill children

Ricky Gervais calls terminally ill children 'ableist slur' during Netflix stand-up special

Ricky Gervais: Armageddon, Netflix

A petition to axe Ricky Gervais'Netflix special Armageddon over ableist slurs has reached 4,000 signatures.

The 62-year-old has been promoting his latest project ahead of its release on Christmas Day, however, one of the jokes shared to his social media has sparked criticism over the language and terms used.

As part of the stand up routine, Gervais does a bit on making videos for terminally ill children via the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

He calls the children "baldies", and then says he starts the video to the children with: "Why didn't you wish to get better? What, are you f***ing r*****ed as well?"

Many were upset by the jokes, including reality star Ashley Cain, who tragically lost his daughter Azaylia to cancer aged eight months.

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 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!"

On Twitter/X viewers had a lot to say.

In reference to Gervais' show Afterlife, that follows Tony - played by Gervais - after the death of his wife Lisa who had cancer, one viewer wrote: "For a man who profited so heavily from a tv programme that had cancer as a central plot point this feels really weird."

Another viewer of the clip wrote: "This is the most vile attempt at 'comedy' I've ever seen. Sick and dying children wish for a video from him, and he mocks them like this? Shame on you Ricky Gervais. Children fighting for their life are NO laughing matter. I have no respect for this man."

In response, a petition has been created to axe the section of the Netflix special, reaching just over 4,000 signatures at the time of writing.

The petition is titled "Demand Netflix to Remove Ricky Gervais's Offensive Skit Mocking Terminally Ill Children". The creator of the petition shared that they started the petition "as a parent whose child, Katy, bravely battled cancer". Going on to call the skit "disrespectful" and "deeply hurtful".

"The sheer disrespect and disgust in Ricky Gervais's jokes about asking terminally ill children, questioning 'Why they didn't wish to get better?', and resorting to derogatory language are infuriating," the creator wrote. "This is not just unfunny but deeply offensive. I can't comprehend how a writer or anyone at Netflix could green light such appalling content."

"We believe that comedy should never come at the expense of someone else's pain or suffering - especially when it involves innocent children battling life-threatening illnesses", the petition adds.

Comments left under the petition bring up similar sentiments and experiences.

"Whilst by it very nature Ricky Gervais act pushes boundaries of acceptability, this is a step too far," one comment read. "Families facing one of the most cruel circumstances imaginable deserve respect and protection."

The comedian's language has also been criticised by charity Scope, who shared a statement on social media saying it "didn't accept" his explanation to "try and justify" his language, after he claimed not to use "the R-word in real life,' before "joking" about it again.

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