A tweet posted from the account of comedian Ricky Gervais Wednesday night is drawing strong and negative reaction from the Latino community. The verified account of the British actor/comedian posted a Valentine’s Day tweet that read, “Guys, show how much you love you [sic] wife tonight in the restaurant by buying a dead rose from the illegal immigrant who pops in.” The tweet, according to other Twitter profiles that saw it in their stream, received close to 2,000 retweets in just a few hours and also led to Twitter replies such as this one:
By late this morning, however, there was no official record of the tweet on Twitter. It was deleted from Gervais’ verified account. Every link that shows up in a Google search of the tweet confirms that the tweet no longer exists on Twitter, except for one link that shows an image of the tweet, as initially reported by Latino Rebels.
Social media reaction to the deleted tweet has been overwhelmingly negative. The tweet comes at a time when public comments about “illegal immigrants” are seen by many U.S. Latinos as racist and insensitive, no matter the context. It’s unclear who was actually tweeting from Gervais’ account — whether it was him, a representative or whether the account was hacked. NBC Latino did call and e-mail Gervais’ publicist for comment and clarification. As of this story’s initial posting, no reply has been received. It also isn’t clear who deleted the tweet, but after the tweet was removed, this tweet appeared on the account:
Don’t let anyone tell u how u should be using Twitter. If they don’t like it, they can unfollow, block, ignore. & remember, u can too. Enjoy. — Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) February 14, 2013
Gervais is known for his irreverent humor and for pushing the envelope. Last year, Gervais said about his comedy: “The simple fact is, offence [sic] is taken, not given. It’s up to you if you’re offended or not. And remember, just because you’re offended, it doesn’t mean you’re right.” According to the official Gervais blog, the actor is currently filming the new Muppet Movie in London.
Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77 ) founded LatinoRebels.com in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. In the past 12 months, Julito represented the Rebeldes on Face the Nation, NPR, Univision, Forbes, and The New York Times.