Ricky Gervais has defended a controversial ‘joke’ he made about AIDS.
Earlier this week the writer-actor-comedian joined in with a Twitter meme asking people to suggest “things you can say both during sex and during a funeral”. Gervais simply replied “AIDS?”.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 20, 2017
Gervais’ comment attracted criticism on social media. “The idea that you think AIDS is a death sentence is as dated as your comedy, Ricky,” tweeted Ryan Butcher, the deputy editor of Gay Times magazine.
The idea that you think AIDS is a death sentence is as dated as your comedy, Ricky. https://t.co/vpPfcL21cM
— ryan john butcher (@ryanjohnbutcher) June 20, 2017
— Andy (@smurfintime) June 20, 2017
This is legit asked of me every time a friend dies, which is ignorant, offensive and not fucking funny. https://t.co/rfbFoZ3Eow
— Regina George Michael (@charlesrockhill) June 20, 2017
The National AIDS Trust also called out the comment, tweeting at Gervais: “Nice. Why let accuracy about HIV get in the way of having a pop at an already very stigmatised group of people?! #keepingitclassy” Thanks to medical advances, people diagnosed with HIV early and treated effectively now have a near-normal life expectancy.
— National AIDS Trust (@NAT_AIDS_Trust) June 21, 2017
Gervais then defended himself. “You mean, why aren’t jokes factually actuate [sic}?” he wrote. “Because they’re jokes. I don’t hold the same world view as my jokes. Most people get that.”
You mean, why aren't jokes factually actuate? Because they're jokes. I don't hold the same world view as my jokes. Most people get that.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 21, 2017
Earlier this year Gervais defended himself after being criticised for making a joke about a dead baby.
He wrote at the time: “”Is there any subject you shouldn’t joke about?” is no less ridiculous a question than “Is there any subject you shouldn’t talk about?”