Ricky Gervais Says Cancel Culture Is A ‘Weird Sort Of Fascism’
Ricky Gervais has condemned ‘cancel culture’ and described it as a ‘weird sort of fascism’.
The attempt to silence and remove celebrities or viral video stars from society has often been criticised as an unhealthy way of responding to controversial actions, as it eliminates the chance for improvement or apology.
The target of the ‘cancelling’ is deemed to be the one who is in the wrong, and an ‘us vs. them’ mentality is often adopted by social media users attempting to condemn them for their actions. However, Gervais has argued that in ‘cancelling’ someone for their actions, we are dismissing the right to free speech.
In an interview with talkRadio, the comedian said cancel culture was a ‘new weird sort of fascism’, which involves people knowing ‘what you can say and what you can’t say’.
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…
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.
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 argued there’s no way to win on social media, and took his examples to the extreme as he described anyone who is ‘mildly left-wing on Twitter’ as Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky, while anyone who is ‘mildly conservative’ is ‘Hitler’.
He added, if you’re ‘centrist and you look at both arguments’, then you’re a coward, saying: ‘Just because you’re offended it doesn’t mean you’re right.’
Gervais’ comments came as he discussed whether his show The Office, which first aired in 2001, would succeed in today’s society. He claimed ‘mob rule’ would compromise the comedy in the show, saying that while some people may ‘love it and get it’, the people in charge of airing the show would be ‘bullied’ by those offended by it.
The After Life creator stressed his opinion that we should never find ourselves in a world where we fear saying something because someone might be offended by it.
Offence is good because it makes you think and it makes you come up with an argument. And what’s happened recently is that ‘I’m offended’ has replaced an argument.
Gervais ended his discussion by saying that it is up to the individual to decide what is morally good.
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