The big story in entertainment news this week is British comedian Ricky Gervais's supposedly controversial opening monologue at the Golden Globes awards.
On Monday morning, media outlets around the world--from Detroit to Australia--asked: Did Gervais go too far? In his monologue, Gervais cracked jokes about Charlie Sheen, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, Cher, Scientologists, Hugh Hefner, Mel Gibson, and the cast of Sex and the City 2.
The audience didn't seem to chafe at his jokes. Sure, there were groans and some uncomfortable laughter, but crowd shots--like those of Robert De Niro and Halle Berry--showed many stars chuckling at Gervais's jokes.
So, why all the anger toward Gervais? The culprit in this case seems to be Twitter.
After the comedian's 5-minute monologue, he didn't appear on the Golden Globes stage for about one hour. During that time, speculation among Twitter members was that Gervais had been pulled from the show.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Piers Morgan, the new CNN host in Larry King's former time slot, launched the Twitter speculation when he tweeted: "Gervais not seen for an hour now." Note that Morgan earned his stripes reporting for tabloids in the U.K. and that Gervais will be a guest on his brand-new show this Thursday,
Shortly after Morgan's tweet, other news outlets began speculating on Twitter.
For instance, The Boston Globe's Wesley Morris tweeted: "Where's Ricky Gervais? Has anyone seen him? Has he been sent home? Is he somewhere passed out on some suit's wife. What gives?"
And it was a PR pro who quit beating around the bush and said what many of the other tweets were suggesting: "Others have joked but I think it is getting to the point where it may be true...did HFPA fire Gervais midway through the show??" Hollywood publicist Lewis Kay tweeted.
HFPA is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globes and was among Gervais targets during his monologue.
Ultimately, the speculation proved incorrect. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Gervais insisted there was nothing strange about his hour-long absence from the stage.
"I did every single introduction I was meant to," Gervais explained. "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)."
Gervais also denied any awkwardness backstage. "Everyone took it well and the atmosphere backstage and at the after show was great," he said.
Although the HFPA said in a statement that Gervais "occasionally went too far," the organization insisted the show "was among the best" it had staged.
Even Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who was the butt of a Gervais joke, tweeted about the Golden Globes, suggesting he wasn't offended by the cracks. "The Golden Globes was a blast," he tweeted. "They made fun of everyone, including ... me. A great night."
What did you think about the monologue? Do you think Gervais went over the line?