For those not familiar with him, Ricky Gervais is a brilliant British actor, director and writer, best known for portraying David Brent in his original BBC series ‘The Office’. A past host of the Golden Globes, the often controversial comedian is known for raising the ire of Hollywood A-listers with his blunt zingers and one-liners. I first noticed him as the museum director Dr. McPhee in ‘A Night at the Museum’ with Ben Stiller, and later stumbled upon him in ‘The Office’ on Netflix. I quickly became a fan and adored all his subsequent projects, including; ‘Derek’, ‘An Idiot Abroad’ and ‘Life’s too Short’, all hilarious and poignant. As I write this, Gervais’ new movie ‘Special Correspondents’ is currently playing on Netflix, and his feature film ‘David Brent – Life on the Road’ will be released in theaters this coming August.
But enough about the artist, I also respect the man.
Ricky Gervais is a well-known animal rights activist. With more than ten million Twitter followers, Gervais’ tweets on animal atrocities have gained the attention and garnered support of animal lovers across the planet. From condemning trophy hunting and cosmetic testing on animals, to taking on the savagery of bullfighting and fox hunting, to exposing the slaughter of whales and elephants, Gervais has helped bring animal cruelty to the forefront of society via social media.
Some celebrities tweet for profit, Gervais tweets for animal welfare.
Along with millions of supporters, Gervais has his critics. Anti-Gervais proponents call him a hypocrite, citing that anyone who eats meat, should not be speaking on behalf of animal rights. Gervais is neither a vegan nor a vegetarian. I understand the ethical dilemma implied – which animals do we love and protect, and which ones do we slaughter and eat, but I disagree with the ‘all or nothing’ stance.
I condemn cruelty towards animals, but I’m also a meat eater. The ethical issue is valid. But to push the argument so far as to suggest activists do not warrant a voice – unless they’re prepared to become vegans, is ludicrous. The world is far from perfect. We each do what we can. Each single act of kindness is a step forward.
Critics are vocal, but supporters are louder. Bottom line, Ricky Gervais has been a powerful advocate in the fight against animal cruelty. From educating the masses on the horrors of the Yulin dog meat festival in China, to condemning the mass slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands – and everything in between, Gervais sends a wakeup call to the world – ten million followers at a time. The power of social media, combined with the passion of influential spokespersons, is a tremendous sword to wield. Not a panacea, but a means to an informed world.
Not everyone will agree, and I respect that. The ethical debate will rage on. Gervais is a controversial personality on many levels. While I’m not one to espouse the preachings of a person just because of celebrity status, I make the exception here. For me, Ricky Gervais has been an inspiration, and while I don’t agree with all his beliefs, I thank him for his dedication to this cause. I hope his passion, influence and his fight, continues.
I leave you with a brief selection of Ricky Gervais quotes on animal welfare. I’ve spared you the images, they are difficult to forget, once seen.
I’ll pay for a pride of lions to have their own designated sniper on their side. Now it’s a sport. Where you brave hunters at now?
I’ve just discovered a Sea World that has loads of room where the whales and dolphins are happy. It’s called the sea.
You know that feeling of joy someone gets when they put an arrow through a giraffe’s eye…..No, me neither.
Dear intelligent people of the world, don’t get shampoo in your eyes. It really stings. There. Done. Now fucking stop torturing animals.
Trophy Hunting, poaching, dog torture festivals…it seems like a losing battle. But let’s fight it any way.
Until next time,