Did Ricky Gervais cross the line by being his usual, I-could-care-less-what-people-think-about-me self?
The British comedian evoked online ire after posting a series of tweets referencing “mongs,” once a slur directed at people with Down’s Syndrome, and sometimes accompanying them with photos of him making silly faces. “Two mongs don’t make a right,” read one tweet. “Night night monglets,” he told his followers on Oct. 14.
Criticism came quick. Comedians and Down’s Syndrome advocacy groups have called out Gervais for reviving the word, but he claims “mong” now means something else.
“Well done everyone who pointed out that Mong USED to be a derogatory term for DS,” he wrote, referring to Down’s Syndrome. “Gay USED to mean happy. Words change. Get over it.”
Responding to a follower who asked “What is a mong?,” Gervais replied, “A div, a dozy spud headed twonk. I would NEVER use it to mean downs syndrome.” Gervais also circulated a page from InternetSlang.com decreeing that the definition of mong is “complete idiot.”
Now the “Office” creator has turned the conversation about him into a joke of its own. “The police just came round and confiscated all my awards,” he tweeted today, along with the above photo.