Some people were in agreement that Ricky Gervais crossed the line when he delivered his opening monologue at the 68th Golden Globes Awards on Sunday, January 16. Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk released a statement to THR, saying "Some of the things he said were totally unacceptable."
As the awards show's second-time host, Gervais took a jab on Charlie Sheen, Cher, HFPA, Scientology and Hugh Hefner among others. "He definitely crossed the line," Berk told THR. "And some of the things were totally unacceptable. But that's Ricky. Any of the references to individuals is certainly not something the Hollywood Foreign Press condones."
Berk himself was the butt of Gervais' jokes. The host said when introducing Berk, "I just had to help him off the toilet and pop his teeth in." Berk added that he had no idea what Gervais would say on stage because "That's not how Ricky works."
On the other side, Gervais called it a job well done. "Everyone took it well and the atmosphere backstage and at the after show was great," the comedian said in a statement, adding that he did not offend anyone with his jokes. But he admitted after the show, "I probably won't be here next year."
He also addressed his disappearance in the middle of the show, which made people think that he was being warned or fired by HFPA. "I did every single introduction I was meant to," he said. "There just happened to be a long gap. This is because I was allowed to choose who I would introduce in advance. I obviously chose presenters who I had the best jokes for. (And who I knew had a good sense of humor)."
Robert Downey Jr. was not one who fits in this category apparently. Gervais said the "Iron Man" actor is best known for his trips to the Betty Ford Center. Downey Jr. responded, saying the comedian was "hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones."
Nevertheless, everything was wrapped up nicely with a statement from HFPA on Monday. "We loved the show," a rep said. "It was a lot of fun and obviously has a lot of people talking. When you hire a comedian like Ricky Gervais, one expects in your face, sometimes outrageous material."
"Certainly, in this case, he pushed the envelope and occasionally went too far. The HFPA would never condone some of his personal remarks. Overall, however, the show was among the best we've ever had and we were pleased." According to preliminary Nielsen data, about 17 million people tuned in to the three-hour show, about the same number as last year.