Ricky Gervais has branded his critics "humourless" after he was blasted by officials at a Down Syndrome charity for persistently posting a derogatory word associated with the condition on his Twitter.com page.
The Office star regularly uses the word "mong" - a British term often used to refer to sufferers of Down Syndrome - in posts on his page of the microblogging site.
He was forced to defend his use of the term in a joke about Susan Boyle last year (10), but charity chiefs are annoyed about his continued use of the phrase.
Mencap's Mark Gale tells Britain's The Sun, "It's very disappointing. Such language can perpetuate discriminatory attitudes", and Frank Buckley, from Down Syndrome Education International, adds, "Most would consider it as offensive as comparable terms of abuse referring to racial background or sexual orientation."
Gervais is adamant he means no harm by using the word, insisting it has changed meaning to a more "urban" saying.
He explains, "I have never used the word Mongol. I have used 'mong', but never to mean Down Syndrome and never would.
"The meaning of words change over time - 'gay' for example. The modern use of the word 'mong' means dopey or ignorant - it's in slang and urban dictionaries."
And he returned to his Twitter.com page to blast his critics for their "ill-informed" comments and thank his fans for their support.
Gervais writes, "The humourless PC brigade have been out in force trying to influence the vote with ill informed negative comments... thanks for the support as others wilfully misunderstand to justify their point."
And when one follower asked Gervais how he will get out of "this hole", he replied, "What hole? it's only a hole if you let it be one."