Unlike actors, comedians it seems can get away with most of their ill-phrased statements made on the Internet.
While actors have to explain their motives behind their tweets and Facebook posts, funnymen – apparently – conveniently use and play their “it was supposed to be a joke” and their comedic card.
This is exactly what British comedian and award host Ricky Gervais has done.
Commenting on the latest nude photos leak of stars including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and Swimsuit model Kate Upton, Gervais tweeted that no one would be able to obtain naked photos of celebrities if they didn’t take naked photos of themselves in the first place.
As obvious as it is, his remarks were in extremely poor taste and (quite) predictably set off a scorching round of criticism.
Gervais eventually had to delete the tweet but it was of no use since people have gotten rather smart with their usage of the “Print Screen” button on their keyboards.
Here’s a screen grab:
Although he took down the post, Gervais insisted that it was meant to be a joke and continued defending himself with a series of tweets:
Anyone who retweets this leaked erotic photo of me should be ashamed of themselves. pic.twitter.com/p2KBa6serK— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) August 31, 2014
Apparently, his argument made matters worse and added to the ire of the already outraged users.
ricky gervais that deleted tweet was just stupid but that's probably why it was deleted— alisha (@tensdoctor) September 1, 2014
I really do admire Ricky Gervais, but that victim-blaming (now deleted) tweet was just ignorant and thoughtless, I thought.— Luke Penny (@itsmelukepenny) September 1, 2014
I might not agree with everything Ricky Gervais says, but I will fight to the death not to have to hear it.— Jon Macqueen (@jonmacqueen) September 1, 2014
Here’s the thing: people like Gervais do not seem to understand that blaming people for their leaked photos is akin to what people call victim blaming.
It’s even worse in this case because those pictures had been DELETED, which means the celebrities who took them did NOT want anyone else to see them. Research psychologist Peggy Drexler wrote on CNN:
“The blame for a crime lies not with the victim but with the criminal. Jennifer Lawrence was not naïve, or tacky, or any number of criticisms that have been and surely will be lobbed at her, for posing for provocative photos. She was a normal young woman. And I suspect that we're more shocked by the fact that Lawrence had a glass of wine and posed naked for a boyfriend than the fact the image is now ours to see. We've become accustomed to knowing everything about everyone.”
Holding the stars – or anyone for that matter – responsible for something they did privately is not only idiotic it’s also offensive. And making silly jokes about them is an even bigger offense.
Actress Lena Dunham stated on her Twitter account that this hack was not just a violation of privacy. Looking at the photos is also “violating these women again and again.”
Maybe it’s time people – including Ricky Gervais – understood that.