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Ricky Gervais Is Under Fire For Joking About Terminally Ill Children In His New Netflix Special

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Ricky Gervais, who is no stranger to controversy, is being criticized for jokes about sick children in his new Netflix comedy special, Armageddon.

In a clip he posted to social media, the comedian discussed making videos for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. “I’ve been doing a lot of video messages recently for terminally ill children. Only if they request it, obviously,” he said. “I don’t burst into hospitals and go, ‘Wake up, baldy. Look at me twerking on TikTok.’” Gervais later joked that he always starts the videos the same way: “Why didn’t you wish to get better? What, you f*cking r*tarded as well?”

According to Decider, “Following a mixed reaction from the audience, Gervais insists that he doesn’t use the ‘R-word’ in real life. Instead, he says he’s ‘playing a role’ during his stand-up routines and that it’s convincing because he’s ‘good’ at his job.” Not everyone bought his excuse, however.

Katherine Litchen, whose four-year-old son Teddy suffers from neuroblastoma, told the Daily Express that she found it “troubling that Gervais used an ableist slur – r*tarded – to describe terminally ill children. The word is a weapon of derision towards those who are born with or acquire a disability, and Gervais’ use of it in a globally aired stand up comedy show is helping to maintain the social acceptability of discrimination against disabled people.”

Former soccer player Ashley Cain, who lost his 8-month-old daughter to leukemia, condemned Gervais in an Instagram comment. “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,” he said. “Some things are not funny, especially to the 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!”

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(Via Decider)