Add Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk to the chorus of those who believe that Ricky Gervais went too far as host of the Golden Globes on Sunday night.
The head of the group responsible for the awards show says that while he felt the show itself was “terrific,” he too felt that Gervais’ jokes about specific celebrities were too much.
“He definitely crossed the line,” Berk told The Hollywood Reporter. “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,” he added.
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Robert Downey Jr. – the butt of one of Gervais’ jokes – said the show was “hugely mean-spirited with mildly sinister undertones.”
Gervais went after Berk personally with this joke when introducing him saying, “I just had to help him off the toilet and pop his teeth in.”
While Berk traditionally vets every word of the Globes’ script, he says that Gervais does not allow that pre-show scrutiny as host. “That’s not how Ricky works,” he said.
“I had absolutely no idea what Ricky was going to say so anything I heard was at the same time you heard it,” Berk said. “When you hire Ricky Gervais, you expect the unexpected.”
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As for widespread rumors that Gervais was lectured during the show or kept from reappearing at key moments, Berk dismissed them as “ridiculous.”
“It was always planned that in the section of important awards he was not going to be part of (the show),” says Berk. “He was never called on the carpet, or given a warning or anything else.”
Berk would not comment whether he would recommend to the membership to have Gervais back next year as host.