Ricky Gervais has sparked a debate on social media, after he mocked people who have referred to Jada Pinkett Smith‘s alopecia as a disability.
Pinkett Smith’s experience with the autoimmune disorder, which often leads to hair loss, has been the focus of much discussion over the past several days, after her husband, Will Smith, slapped Chris Rock onstage at March 27’s Academy Awards.
As he prepared to present an award, Rock quipped: “Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” referring to her close-cropped haircut, similar to Demi Moore’s in 1997 film G.I. Jane. Pinkett Smith shaved her head after experiencing hair loss.
When Gervais discussed the incident in a live Q&A session on Twitter last week, the British comedian condemned Smith’s actions but also defended Rock’s joke, insisting it was “tame” in comparison to anything Gervais would have said.
In a clip from the event shared on his TikTok account earlier this week, the After Life star said: “You don’t hit people over a joke, however bad it is. And it wasn’t bad! That was like the tamest joke I would ever have told.”
“Someone said it was joking about her disability,” he said in a deadpan tone before bursting into laughter. “Well I’m going a bit thin. So I’m disabled. That means I can park right up next to [British supermarket] Tesco now.”
“And I’m fat. That’s a disease, isn’t it?” Gervais, a five-time Golden Globes host added. “I’m fat and balding. I should get f****** benefits.”