Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais as God. Ricky Gervais Twitter page

The Office star Ricky Gervais roused the fury of fans when he blamed the stars and not the hackers for the naked pictures of celebrities leaked online.

The number of photos, apparently of nude celebrities is now said to be over 100 and includes alleged victims such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West, Winona Ryder, Selena Gomes and Lea Michele are also among the stars named as having had their iCloud accounts hacked.

Gervais had little sympathy for them, tweeting: "Celebrities make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from the computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer."

But the 53-year-old changed his mind, perhaps aware that a backlash was coming, and deleted the message.

Unfortunately, Gervais' tweet didn't go unnoticed, as one user drew attention to the comic's opinions, writing: "In case you missed his hastily deleted tweet, here is Ricky Gervais blaming the violation of a woman's body on her."

The actor then tried to make light of the situation, saying: "Dear easily offended people, don't be. Hope that helps. Have a great day :)"

He later added: "Making a joke about a thing doesn't mean you condone that thing.

"Of course the hackers are 100% to blame but you can still makes jokes about it. Jokes don't portray your true serious feelings on a subject."

Lena Dunham, writer and star of Girls sitcom, waded into the row, arguing that the "don't take naked pics if you don't want them online" argument is the 'she was wearing a short skirt' of the web. Ugh."

She also asked people not to view the pictures, saying: "The way in which you share your body must be a CHOICE. Support these women and do not look at these pictures.

"Remember, when you look at these pictures you are violating these women again and again. It's not okay. Seriously, do not forget that the person who stole these pictures and leaked them is not a hacker: they're a sex offender."