Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Mum of cancer patient, 4, blasts Ricky Gervais for mocking terminally ill kids

The mum of a four-year-old cancer patient has blasted Ricky Gervais after a joke in which he asked terminally ill children: “Why didn’t you wish to get better?”

A clip from his new Netflix special ‘Armageddon’ sparked a backlash after he mocked children with terminal cancer, branding them “baldy” and calling them “r*tarded”.

The comedian was joking about making videos for dying children via the Make a Wish Foundation, before he said: “Why didn’t you wish to get better?”.

The clip sparked outrage online, with Ex on the Beach star Ashley Cain blasting Gervais, saying: “Some things are not funny”.

Now angry parents have slammed Gervais for his ableist discrimination.

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Katherine Litchen, whose son Teddy suffers from neuroblastoma, slammed the comic, saying his words were “like a punch in the gut”.

She added: “My throat closed up and tears sprung to my eyes at his words ‘Why don’t you wish to get better?’ Because that is what we do wish for.

“The punchline of his joke is the suffering of children and parents whose greatest wish is for them to get better, but nothing in the world can grant it.

“I find it particularly troubling that Gervais used an ableist slur – r*tarded – to describe terminally ill children.

“The word is a weapon of derision towards those who are born with or acquire a disability, and Gervais’ use of it in a globally aired stand up comedy show is helping to maintain the social acceptability of discrimination against disabled people.”

In the UK, cancer is the most common death for children and every two out of ten diagnosed will die.

Sarah, whose son Fletcher passed away from cancer, said she’s a fan of Gervais but the jokes still hurt.

She said: “To start with, Fletcher wanted his Make a Wish to be for Dynamo (the magician) to visit him so he could ask him to magic away his cancer.

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“In a way I’m glad we ended up doing something else so we didn’t have to break the news to him that Dynamo couldn’t cure him.

“I love Ricky Gervais and I know his jokes are not aimed at anyone in particular, but it is hurtful to hear this when I’ve lost my ‘baldy’ boy.”

Amy, whose three-year-old son Eli is undergoing cancer treatment, said: “Ricky and those who think it is acceptable to make jokes about childhood cancer have the privilege of never having been told their child has cancer.

“Never had to pin them down for needle pokes or sign consent forms for poison to be administered into their children’s bodies in the hope it cures them. Every person living this nightmare has wished their child better.

“If Make a Wish Foundation could provide this we’d all be asking for it. Ricky has sat, thought about it and written these lines in the hope for a laugh. He would have read and re read it before performing it.

“He had so many opportunities to think about the impact such a joke would have but still he decided to use it.”

Gervais has previously defended his style of comedy, telling GQ: “I want to be able to justify every joke and I think it comes by making sure that the target is fair.

“I think most offence comes when people mistake the subject of a joke with the actual target.”

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