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Ricky Gervais Is PETA’s Person of the Year

Written by Alisa Mullins | December 23, 2013

At a time when social media influences the outcome of everything from presidential elections to concert bookings, Ricky Gervais, who keeps his 5.3 million Twitter followers informed on animal rights issues in a witty and irreverent—yet relevant—way, has been named PETA’s 2013 Person of the Year.


True to PETA’s position against animal abuse, when Melissa Bachman posed with a lion she had just shot and a big grin on her face, Gervais posted, “I’ll pay for each pride of lions to have their own designated sniper on their side. Now it’s a sport ….” In sync with PETA’s cruelty-free cosmetics campaign, Gervais tweeted, “Dear intelligent people of the world, don’t get shampoo in your eyes. It really stings. There. Done. Now f***ing stop torturing animals.

“I probably don’t do anymore than anyone else on Twitter, but with 5.3 million followers, I can reach an awful lot of people at once,” Gervais told JustGiving, which dubbed him the most influential celebrity on that site. “And if you’re passionate about something that has touched your heart, chances are it will touch many other people’s hearts in the same way.”

Gervais, whose wide social-media influence has also earned him a top Klout score among comedians, netted more than 58,000 favorites and 83,000 retweets of his tweets about animals in 2013. His other animal advocacy work includes appearing in this animated video against fur and exotic-animal skins, in which he supplies the voice for a rabbit, with rocker Pink in the role of the crocodile.

Here are some more samples of Gervais’ trademark blend of compassion and biting wit in 140 characters or less:

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  • Steve Harris says:

    Having been a Texan most of my life, I agree wholeheartedly with Jennifer Spelios’s posting. There are entirely too many pseudo-cowboys who get a cheep thrill from slaughtering innocent wildlife and even domesticated animals in the name of sport. Sad.

  • Jennifer Spelios says:

    Thank you, Ricky, for being a real man and standing up for all animals. I live in rural Texas where everyone thinks they’re big, tough hunters, even the women! They have no feelings for animals, and it’s sickening to me. All the ‘designer cowboys’ around here are into calf roping for sport. There’s no mercy anywhere! It’s refreshing to read your posts about animal rights. You think exactly like me, only you have the ability to say it and reach millions! Thank you so much! Also, I loved “Idiot Abroad” and “Bucket List”! Now, I’m loving “Moaning of Life”! Please keep up all the great work!

  • Cathy Renardson says:

    I love you peta. Thank you for standing up for all animals. Animal liberation now!!

  • Lorraine LaPrade says:

    I wish more people would speak out and help people to accept and embrace animals they do matter and they deserve to live a pain and cruelty free existence. BRAVO!!

  • David Parker says:

    Well said Ricky – I agree with every word. It is totally wrong the way we treat animals on this planet. I am a life-long animal lover & vegetarian. I follow my late mother, whose compassion for animals knew no bounds.

  • Maria Cremaschi says:

    What a beautiful compassionate soul.

  • Susanne says:

    I love this man for the way he thinks and speaks up about animals! <3

  • Ann Kenneally says:

    Just love Ricky Gervais always have done and his feelings towards animals are mine through and through x

  • my greatest wish that all animals are treat with the utmost kindness as i love them so much . good luck you great man Ricky X

  • Keith Baillie says:

    Glad he is not only alive for his wit and banter.long live intelligence and wisdom (Magic).Well done Rick. OUCH!.

  • verena says:

    Thank you for speaking up for the best friends we could ever have! Love you for that!

  • Jill White says:

    All animals should be treated with kindness, compassion and respect. How arrogant of us to believe animals were put on this earth for our use. Kindness begets kindness. Way to go Ricky!

  • Virginia Abreu de Paula says:

    Just amazing. Touching and hilarous at the same time. Though I didn’t get the reference to Cliff Richard. Maybe because I am not English. I am Brazilian.

  • Nancy Raymond says:

    Rick: Thank you SO much for putting your voice to animal rights – no one else could have said it better and I LOVE you for your compassion and to the point comments. I am a forever fan and applaud you for your stand on animal abuse in all the horrific forms it comes in. Please never give up. The animals need someone like you who will say it like it is and does not dance around or spare your words – they are very effective and hit the mark.

  • night magic says:

    anyone who cares about the welfare of animals is a beautiful man inside and out .thank you for caring and trying to help using your star status to do so

  • E Burk says:

    go Ricky – an excellent actor and a true humanitarian/animarian!

  • Rae Cecil says:

    What a lovely man, he says what we feel but cannot express in words, thank you.

  • Tina says:

    Ricky…You are my hero!
    Simple as that!

  • Thanks Ricky, you are a breath of fresh air – pity not more stars follow in your footsteps !!!

  • Ricky Gervais you are my absolute hero!

  • Ann Lewis says:

    Thank you, Ricky Gervais. keep up the good work, but please go easy on the bad language. For many people, it might distract from your excellent message.

  • Ann Lewis says:

    Well said, your Excellency Archbishop Tutu! You have put the case for animals better than anyone else I have come across. Thank you.

  • E.goodman says:

    Thank you , more than I can say, Ricky, for what you’re doing and saying for animals. You deserve a humanitarian award.
    How different you are than Joan Rivers, who never seems to be without a real fur on her.

  • suzieb7 says:

    Think my favourite was his response to Melissa Bachman’s post after she shot a lion. She wrote “what a hunt” and he posted “spot the typo”

  • Yasmin Z says:

    Hi Ricky,

    Totally agree. Compassion and empathy are hallmarks of a human soul. We are All Part Of One. God made us all.

    It’s a human arrogance to think we are worth more than the animal who is put in the cattle truck and endures 23 miles of standing, squashed to face the horrors of an abattoir abroad somewhere…Animals who feel, have family networks and feel pain..and did not ask to die a horrific death to become a 95p shop meatball or 2-for-1 Poundshop Lasagne. Or to see dolphins jump through hoops in a chlorine swimming pool where their lives are shortened considerable and they are forced to perform inane tricks..or tigers through a hoop of fire in some circus..And the sordid rest

    If only people thought, opened their eyes and hearts..And imagined..what it must be like.
    But people think of themselves, are selfish and have become desensitised through modern day living..

    Keep up the good work. We need public figures to help spread the word..and then maybe one day..We will see all Life as equally Important. And respect one another. And each other.

  • Lynn Arthur says:

    The inhumane treatment towards the beautiful creatures on our earth, makes me cry with great sadness. Fortunately, Ricky’s compassionate humor brings tears of laughter. Thanks for bringing some relief to a very dark and depressing subject

  • (y) says:

    Love Ricky ♥ Is he vegan?

  • carron says:

    I LOVED HIM BEFORE BUT NOW I WOULD DIE FOR HIM! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK YOU ARE AN AMAZING MAN! ps say hi to idiot abroad star too he is awesome 🙂

  • He is a f****** supreme delight.

  • Allison says:

    Just when I didn’t think I could live this guy anymore

  • Love you Ricky and what you stand for!!