It’s the kind of idiotic comment that might have given even David Brent pause for thought.
But the British comedian Ricky Gervais, creator of the show The Office, which featured a famously tin-eared and insensitive boss (Brent became the rather milder Steve Carrell character Michael Scott in the US version) was furiously attacked today after sending out a tweet suggesting that Jennifer Lawrence and the other celebrities whose naked pictures were stolen by hackers and distributed on the internet were themselves to blame for the debacle.
Gervais tapped out his message, “Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer,” just before 1pm local time in the UK, and it was swiftly retweeted over a thousand times, with commentary coming much more frequently from the outraged than the amused.
.@rickygervais Ah, victim-blaming at its finest. "If you don't want people to break into your house and steal your things, don't own things"— Brian Herbert (@HerbieHero) September 1, 2014
Gervais, who has presumably given up on his former dreams of a Hollywood career, subsequently deleted the tweet, but it lives on in a thousand screen grabs, many of which accuse Gervais of victim-blaming.
In case you missed his hastily deleted tweet, here is Ricky Gervais blaming the violation of a woman's body on her. pic.twitter.com/Uck6krEGVd— Emily Reynolds (@rey_z) September 1, 2014
Despite deleting the tweet, Gervais defended his comment, writing, “Of course the hackers are 100 per cent to blame but you can still makes jokes about it. Jokes don't portray your true serious feelings on a subject.”
Whenever I defend freedom of speech someone always says "so you'd let Hitler off?" Haha. It wasn't his words so much as all that genocide.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) September 1, 2014
He added, “Offence is the collateral damage of free speech,” and then said, “Whenever I defend freedom of speech someone always says "so you'd let Hitler off?" Haha. It wasn't his words so much as all that genocide.”
It's not really what one would call a concilliatory tone, is it?