Ricky Gervais finds himself in the eye of a storm after making controversial jokes about terminally ill children in his upcoming Netflix special, Armageddon. The backlash comes from Ashley Cain, the Ex on the Beach star, who tragically lost his daughter Azaylia to cancer at just eight months old in 2021.
In Armageddon, Gervais refers to children in hospitals as ‘baldies’ and questions why recipients of the Make-A-Wish Foundation don’t ‘wish to get better.’ Cain, having watched a teaser of the show, expressed his deep displeasure, stating that he had to switch it off as it left him ‘so mad,’ emphasising, ‘Some things are just not funny.’
Taking to Instagram Stories, the footballer conveyed his disappointment: ‘I was actually a fan of Ricky Gervais, but I had to turn off his stand-up the other day as there were multiple jokes about terminally ill children and especially kids with cancer.’ In a larger font, he added, ‘Some things are just not funny. Especially to those parents who are left behind.’
Gervais Faces Severe Backlash Over New Netflix Show
Cain highlighted Gervais’s tendency to joke about his wealth and lack of concern for public opinion. He warned, ‘Someday he will learn, and he best hope it’s not me that has to teach him that lesson because I don’t play when it comes to certain things. And that is definitely one of those things.’
Adding to the controversy, Gervais had recently posted a clip from Armageddon where he jokes about creating video messages for terminally ill children via the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The comedian remarked, ‘I’ve been doing a lot of video messages recently for terminally ill children… I always start the video the same way. I go, “Why don’t you wish to get better?” What, you f–king retarded as well?’
Despite Gervais’s insistence that these remarks are part of his comedic persona, the response has been overwhelmingly negative. Parents of terminally ill kids expressed their dismay, with Ashley Cain stating, ‘I was actually a fan of Ricky Gervais but had to turn it off.’ Another comment condemned Gervais, calling the jokes ‘absolutely VILE.’
One parent, Katherine Litchen, whose son suffers from neuroblastoma, found Gervais’s use of the term ‘retarded’ particularly troubling, considering it an ableist slur. She expressed, ‘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.’
Cain Reveals The Agony Of Being A Grieving Father
The controversy is not new for Gervais, known for his politically incorrect humour. He faced death threats during a U.S. tour earlier this year and has been no stranger to sparking outrage with his jokes.
As Gervais faces criticism for his insensitive remarks, Ashley Cain emphasises the stark reality of grieving parents. He reflects on a charity football match for Good Morning Britain, where bereaved fathers stood together, sharing the pain of losing their children. In the wake of this emotional event, Cain’s condemnation of Gervais’s jokes carries even more weight.