Zoolander 2 co-writer Justin Theroux says the allegations of transphobia and insensitivity attached to the upcoming film are taking things out of context.
Ben Stiller’s hotly anticipated sequel shattered viewing records when its trailer tumbled out. But it also generated some backlash related to Benedict Cumberbatch’s androgynous model All. A petition slamming the character as transphobic labeled All as “an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals.” The petition advocates for a boycott of the film and likened the depiction to modern blackface.
Theroux has heard the charges leveled against the film and admits he was hurt by the response generated by the character. The writer/actor told The Wrap that he feels there has been a misunderstanding about the character’s purpose in the film.
“I don’t even know what to make of it, because it hurts my feelings in a way. I take great care in the jokes I write, and the umbrage being taken is out of the context of the scene. I wish people would see the movie first. Satire is a thing that points out the idiots, and we went through it on ‘Tropic Thunder’ with the ‘R’ word,”
Theroux continued with his Tropic Thunder comparison…
“The goal was not to mock or be cruel to the mentally challenged, but exalt in the stupidity of people who use that word. I’m all for letting words be ugly when the target is correct. With social media and all the rest of it, people’s issues need to be heard … at the end of the day people are looking for bandwidth. People are looking for places to inject their voice. But our target is not, and never was, to disenfranchise anyone.”
At the moment, the petition encouraging a boycott of the film is at over 21,000 signatures. Zoolander 2 is slated to arrive in theaters on February 12, 2016.
(via The Guardian)