Welcome to the fifth installment of our Hypocrites series, dedicated to exposing celebrities who use their star power to attack the fur trade – while failing to see their own glaring contradictions. Today we turn the spotlight onto brash British funnyman Ricky Gervais, who fancies himself as a defender of animals. He has spoken out strongly against the use of animals in laboratories, trophy hunting, bull-fights … and fur.
In fact, Gervais had the dubious honor of being named PETA’s “Person of the Year” in 2013, and returned the favor by providing the voice for a skinned rabbit in a recent PETA anti-fur/anti-leather video. (Fellow celeb-hypocrite Pink played a skinned alligator.)
Interestingly, Gervais hasn’t attacked other sectors of animal agriculture or the fishing industry … maybe because he loves a Christmas feast of “roast turkey” with “little cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon, no doubt about it.” Or that he regularly eats chicken, is a cheese addict, and loves fish sticks.
“Animals are not here for us to do as we please with. We are not their superiors, we are their equals. We are their family. Be kind to them,” says Gervais. Unless, of course, we fancy them breaded and fried.
The Hypocrite: Ricky Gervais, celebrity comedian and part-time animal-rights hypocrite.
The Hypocrisy: Ricky is extremely vocal about his animal activism, calling on people to “please don’t buy into cruelty. No real fur, no foie gras.” (Actually, he’s typically much cruder than that, employing the “C” word to describe anyone who disagrees with him about fur.) But when it comes to his own dietary habits, he blandly explains that: “I eat some fish if it’s sustainable and ethical … I’ll have fish fingers.” He also claims to eat at least two types of cheese daily, and loves roast turkey at Christmas.
What he says: “Freedom of speech, rationality, truth and honesty. This is my religion.” Apparently it is “rational” to decry killing animals, unless they are breaded and fried for his dinner.
What they say: PETA dubbed Ricky its “Person of the Year” in 2013, conveniently ignoring the fact that he keeps pets and eats fish, poultry and dairy. PETA usually insists on a vegan diet and considers pets as slaves, so it’s touching how patient and tolerant it can be when dealing with a celebrity who is ready to support at least one of its prime targets!
What we say: Ricky, you are a hypocrite, plain and simple. You can’t justify your consumption of fish sticks as “ethical and sustainable”, and then trash fur. If you believe in “truth and honesty”, you should make an effort to check the facts: fur production today is as ethical and sustainable as any industry you can name. Just because fish are “slimy” – your word – doesn’t mean they deserve a different class of consideration than a soft, furry beaver or a coyote. And where would you get your cheese without animals being raised on farms – just like most mink and fox are now raised on farms?
Actually, we think there is a sincere and rational animal-welfare advocate inside you, eager to come out. (After all: your dad was a French Canadian from Ontario, so you can’t be all bad!) It’s just that you’ve been keeping some bad company – like those opportunists at PETA. You say you believe in “rationality, truth and honesty”, and maybe it’s time you proved it.
So, please, use your celebrity status responsibly. Continue to push for true animal-welfare – in other words, the responsible and humane use of animals. But don’t tell us not to wear fur while you’re snacking on our finny friends fried in bread crumbs.