Ricky Gervais is PETA’s Person of the Year

Ricky Gervais PETA Person of the Year

British comedian Ricky Gervais is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Person of the Year, the organization announced on Monday.

“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,” Alisa Mullins wrote on behalf of PETA.

The Office creator often talks about ending animal cruelty in humorous (albeit impactful) tweets. Take, for example, this message from May: “We should free laboratory animals and only test cosmetics on internet trolls. They’d get the attention they crave and they’d look nicer.”

Ricky previously played modest while talking with We Make Giving Social about his social media influence, saying he probably does “no more than anyone else on Twitter.” Still, actual numbers say otherwise: According to PETA, Ricky’s 2013 messages about animals received 65,000 favorites and 92,000 retweets.

Beyond social media, Ricky regularly lends his support to video campaigns and petitions to companies.

“He finds humor in most things, but cruelty to animals isn’t one of them,” said PETA Managing Director Ingrid E. Newkirk. “As he says himself, ‘Animals are not here for us to do as we please with. We are not their superiors, we are their equals. We are their family. Be kind to them.'”

With the recognition, Ricky joins recent PETA People of the Year Anjelica Huston, Russell Simmons and Bill Clinton.

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