Ricky Gervais has moved swiftly to quash criticism of a controversial joke about Susan Boyle in his stand-up comedy show. "The Office" creator sparked fury after using the word "mong" - a British saying often used as a derogatory term for sufferers of Down's Syndrome - in a joke about Boyle.
Officials at the U.K.'s Down's Syndrome Association contacted the comedian after receiving a "report" about the show - and Gervais immediately wrote back to explain the word was not meant to be offensive in the context of the routine. And he's now taken to his official blog to show fans how the potential scandal was smoothed over as soon as he reached out to the association.
Gervais writes, "The DSA contacted my PR on the 6th of May explaining they had had a report about my routine about Susan Boyle and voiced their obvious concerns. I sent them an email (in which I wrote) 'I clearly explain that words change and that at no point am I referring to anyone with Down's Syndrome. Not only am I not referring to people with Down's Syndrome I also explain that I am not associating the word with its old derogatory meaning. I also do it as part of a routine about comedians taking responsibility for everything they say. I hope this is acceptable.'"
And Gervais' quick response was well received by the association's bosses - they wrote back: "Fully explained and acceptable reply. Please extend our thanks to Ricky for the prompt reply."