Earlier that month, Rowling sparked outrage when she expressed support for Maya Forstater, a British woman who lost her job after using discriminatory language against transgender people on social media. Gervais then tweeted some eyebrow-raising commiseration with a satirical Dec. 19 article about the “Harry Potter” author’s debacle.
Both tweets came under fire, with some people calling for Gervais to step down as host of the Golden Globes ahead of the Jan. 5 ceremony.
“You can say, ‘Listen, I was joking. It’s a joke.’ But that’s not always enough for people,” he said. “They go, ‘Well, why were you joking?’ Also, add to that the nature of Twitter — it’s so curt, there’s no nuance, it’s there forever out of context.”
“Deep down, I want people to know I’m not a racist or a homophobe or a sexist,” he added.
Gervais has faced accusations of transphobia in the past. At the 2016 Golden Globes, his opening monologue included jabs at Caitlyn Jenner, who had come out publicly as a transgender woman the previous year.
In this week’s Hollywood Reporter interview, the comedian said that the offending jokes had been aimed at Jenner’s driving skills ― she had been involved in a deadly car crash the previous year ― rather than her gender identity.
“The joke was about stereotypes,” he said. “I started off being correctly inclusive, saying she’s brave breaking down barriers. And then I [said] she didn’t do a lot for women drivers.”
He went on to suggest that his jokes would be primarily Hollywood-focused at this year’s ceremony.
“I’d go after cinema and I’d go after television and I’d go after actors and I’ll go after pretension and hypocrisy,” he said.
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