Ricky Gervais has managed to stir up as big a controversy at home as he did when he hosted last year's Golden Globes awards in Hollywood. It involved a series of tweets that began on September 29 in which he used the word "mong" -- a word that in England is comparable to the word "retard" In America. The tweets soon came to the attention of disability groups, who promptly expressed their outrage. Rather than apologize, however, Gervais staunchly defended himself -- and laid into those he called "the haters." He posted another message on Twitter saying, "Just to clarify for uptight people stuck in the past. The word Mong means Downs syndrome about as much as the word Gay means happy." The controversy soon hit nearly every British newspaper. The Sun quoted Frank Buckley of Down Syndrome Education International as saying, "Most would consider it as offensive as comparable terms of abuse referring to racial background or sexual orientation." Gervais has not backed down. On Wednesday he issued a statement saying, "I have never used that word to mean Down's syndrome and never would. ... The modern use of the word 'mong' means 'dopey' or 'ignorant'. It's even in modern slang and urban dictionaries." He insisted that he's not about to become inoffensive at this stage of his career. "There's enough comedians who try to please everyone as it is. Good luck to them, but that's not my game, I'm afraid."

20/10/2011