Ricky Gervais hits a China nerve at Golden Globes

Image from @rickygervais on Twitter
Image from @rickygervais on Twitter

Awards shows for US royalty aren’t my thing, but media have gone wild over the Golden Globes hosted by Ricky Gervais last night. Most outlets are focusing on his insults to the tinselati who attended the gala.

Most are ignoring his comments about “woke” companies and their chummy relationship with China, a relationship that by necessity includes the communist party in that authoritarian country.

You can read all of Gervais’ monologue at The Hollywood Reporter, a media outlet sharing a parent company with Dick Clark Productions, producer of the Golden Globes. Here are excerpts:

No one cares about movies anymore. No one goes to cinema, no one really watches network TV. Everyone is watching Netflix. This show should just be me coming out, going, “Well done Netflix. You win everything. Good night.” But no, we got to drag it out for three hours. You could binge-watch the entire first season of Afterlife instead of watching this show. That’s a show about a man who wants to kill himself cause his wife dies of cancer and it’s still more fun than this. Spoiler alert, season two is on the way so in the end he obviously didn’t kill himself. Just like Jeffrey Epstein. Shut up. I know he’s your friend but I don’t care.

It’s the last time, who cares? Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show, a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Well, you say you’re woke but the companies you work for in China — unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?

You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world.”

Personally speaking, I couldn’t have said it better. I often hear celebs assail Americans for their religious and political beliefs. This makes no sense to me, that the entertainment class has appointed itself as keeper of the flame of righteousness. I don’t say that because I disagree on all policy matters these celebs comment on. I say that because in the United States, we have traditionally valued the inherent rights of all to speak their minds, courtesy of an amendment unique in the world, the First Amendment limiting government power over speech.

I also believe that no one who is part of a project dependent on money from one-party-ruled China can claim superiority on any moral issue. Even The New York Times reported on China’s increasing influence over the US entertainment market. That influence naturally includes censorship from the Communist Party actors who control messaging in that country. The NYT claims:

“Of the top 100 highest-grossing films worldwide each year from 1997 to 2013, China helped finance only 12 Hollywood movies…” [and]

“But in the five years that followed, China co-financed 41 top-grossing Hollywood films…”

Despite all the angst over “trade wars”, the figures on returns to US entertainment assets are telling. Reuters reported:

China’s quota system allows 34 imported movies, while overseas producers get a 25 percent share of box office takings – less than in other international markets. Since 2016 a handful more have been allowed in via a “cultural exchange” channel.”

Although Gervais is currently being praised by many Rightists for his outspoken crit of those in attendance, he isn’t a conservative. Gervais is more a classical liberal, I think, and he appears to be an atheist. Politics do indeed make strange bedfellows.

One media personality, Scott Feinberg, tweeted this today:

“I’m told NBC beeped only two things in Ricky’s monologue, “minge” and “fuck off,” not “giant pussy.” I asked a high-ranking HFPA official if she was angry about the choice of words and she just shook her head with resignation: “You can’t get him and muzzle him, you know?”

Considering people like Robert De Niro haven’t been muzzled—he assailed Americans who don’t vote the way he does—I’d say Gervais has every right to remind Hollywood how far most of the celebs are from regular Americans. It’s so ironic. De Niro’s latest role glamorizes a murderer and thug. Those types of roles seem to suit the actor perfectly—maybe he had a secret dream to become one.

I respect the rights of all to speak out about policy and issues. But when you decide to attack people whose beliefs are different than yours, and when you decide to smear the same folks with false labels, well, maybe you should consider muzzling yourself. If you rely on China for a lot of your financing, you have no right to criticize any American on moral grounds.

Well done, Mr. Gervais. Well done.

(Kay B. Day/January 6, 2020)

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