The creator of The Office, Ricky Gervais, has called out the online “fascists” that want to shut down freedom of speech, saying that “if you’re mildly conservative on Twitter people call you Hitler.”
Continuing on his press tour marking the nineteenth anniversary of The Office, Gervais followed up his criticisms of cancel culture with an attack on the idea of so-called “hate speech”.
“There’s this new weird sort of fascism of people thinking they know what you can say and what you can’t and it’s a really weird thing… that there’s this new trendy myth that people who want free speech want to say awful things all the time. It’s just isn’t true, it protects everyone,” Gervais said in an interview on talkRadio.
The British actor and comedian said that people trying to shut down free speech in the name of combatting “hate speech” are “fascists” who “behind this bit the shield of goodness”, saying: “we’re good, we’re social just warriors, we’re doing this for good and what we say goes… and they don’t realize how corrupt and wrong that is.”
Reflecting on the caustic environment on social media, Gervais said: “If you’re mildly left-wing on Twitter, you’re suddenly Trotsky, right? If your mildly conservative, if you’re Hitler and if your centrist and you look at both arguments, you’re a coward.”
Mr Gervais said that while he backed certain caveats on freedom of speech, such as libel and slander laws, he said that countries should never criminalise speech that “someone, somewhere, might find offensive… because someone, somewhere might find everything offensive.”
“Just because you’re offended it doesn’t mean you’re right,” he added.