Ricky Gervais: Did His 'Bullying' Send a Bad Message?

Linda Sharps

Everyone's talking about Ricky Gervais and his controversial performance last night as Golden Globes host, and the question of the day is: did he go too far?

Gervais himself certainly doesn't think so. "This year, I went about right. If anyone was offended, then I don't care," he told TVGuide.com.

Of course, that's what he said right after the show. Now that feedback is pouring in about his attacks on Angelina Jolie, Charlie Sheen, Hugh Hefner, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, and more, he may be changing his tune.

According to PopEater.com, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association said that not only will Gervais not be invited back to host next year, but "For sure any movie he makes he can forget about getting nominated. He humiliated the organization last night and went too far with several celebrities whose representatives have already called to complain."

Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk has also told The Hollywood Reporter that, "He definitely crossed the line. And some of the things were totally unacceptable."

Blogs are lighting up with comparisons between Gervais and the sort of cruel bullying that's come under national attention lately.

Was Gervais harassing the celebrities he made fun of last night? I certainly didn't think so when I watched the broadcast. I thought that for the most part he was saying things most of us think already, and the only truly shocking aspect was that he was saying them out loud. I mean, it doesn't take balls to make a Charlie Sheen joke these days, but it sure does to crack it in front of a roomful of Sheen's peers, right?

The only joke I felt was truly unwarranted was the jab at Robert Downey Jr, because I feel for a guy who's redeemed himself in every possible way but still continually takes shit for his actions of a decade ago.

Downey Jr nailed him right back, though, with his introductory comment that "Aside from the fact that it's been hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones, I'd say the vibe of the show has been pretty good so far, wouldn't you?"

That seems like the difference to me, the reason this wasn't the sort of bullying we've come to be wary of. These aren't helpless underdogs, these are some of the most rich and famous public figures in the world—are we really worrying about their emotional health and inabilty to defend themselves, or are we simply reeling from the notion that someone would dare make fun of Angelina Jolie's movie while she was right there in the room?

Still, I can see how it sends a mixed message to condemn hurtful words in one context, and applaud them in another. For me, Gervais made the Globes watchable, but I know not everyone wanted to see an over-the-top roast. An awards show is meant to recognize achievement, and I could be convinced that it's not the right place to simultaneously tear those people down.

(Note, though, that viewership was up 5% from last year, presumably as a direct result of Gervais' performance. Give me Gervais over Billy Freaking Crystal ANY DAY.)

What do you think about the fallout from Gervais' hosting duties? Do you think he'll issue an apology?

Image via Hulu

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