New York, New York - GMHC released the following statement regarding Ricky Gervais' transphobic jokes at the Golden Globes.
STATEMENT BY GMHC CEO KELSEY LOUIE:
The trans community had an incredible year in film and television, and countless members of the LGBT community and our allies sat down on Sunday night ready to watch the star studded Golden Globes. Within minutes of the opening monologues, it was clear that increased visibility for the trans community in film and television does not mean equality.
Social media lit up calling out Ricky Gervais for deadnaming ( calling someone by the name they were assigned at birth instead of their chosen name ) Caitlyn Jenner. Ricky then moved on to discuss TRANSPARENT star Jeffery Tambor's genitals. Later in the show he referred to Eddie Redmayne, the actor who played Lilly in The Danish Girl, as "it".
While Ricky's transphobic jokes were appalling, we should be equally outraged at NBC because Ricky was doing what NBC paid him to do: offend, and he certainly succeeded. I believe we need to ask NBC why they employed someone in such a high-profile role that is in direct contradiction to their "values." On NBC's website there is a page called "About Our Values" that says, 'At NBCUniversal, we understand the power and possibilities of media and technology....We champion an inclusive culture and strive to attract and develop a diverse, talented workforce to create and deliver a spectrum of content reflecting the current and changing face of the world.'
What do the members of Out at NBC think about one of their colleagues erasing the effort of countless people in film and television who are dedicated to educating about the horrors the trans community still face today in 2016? Does NBC's leadership not stand by NBC's diversity and inclusion statement that says, 'At NBCUniversal, we celebrate diverse cultures and backgrounds by presenting positive role models, telling diverse success stories, commemorating heritage, and fostering dialogue on a variety of platforms, to create powerfully engaging content that makes a real difference in people's lives.'
Ricky Gervais clearly does not understand that as a public figure, he has the power to help educate and empower, rather than choosing tired jokes that ultimately say trans people don't deserve respect. But we also must focus our anger on NBC, Ricky's employer. NBC wanted to make sure that people not only watched the Golden Globes, but also kept talking about it the next day. Instead of hiring someone who is both funny and affirming, they hired someone who is known for his offensive remarks, and sadly his uninspired humor perpetuated transphobia. NBC should explain why they employed, and likely paid Ricky handsomely, someone they knew would not live up to their "values".
About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis ( GMHC ) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 9,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epidemic's largest U.S. epicenter. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org .