Zoolander 2 Trailer Under Fire By Trans Community

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Only a few days after the trailer for the film “Zoolander 2” came out, a petition appeared on the Internet that called for the boycott of the movie because of its “cartoonish mockery of androgynous/trans/non-binary individuals.” Co-writer of the film Justin Theroux replied to the claim and said that the film wasn’t meant to disenfranchise anyone.

The online petition has amassed more than 20,000 signatures since it was launched and Theroux said that this deeply hurt his feelings. The petition itself refers to the scene with Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays an androgynous model, and Theroux claimed that it was taken out of context. He added that those who have signed the petition clearly don’t understand satire.

The co-writer said that he takes great care in writing his jokes and that he wished people would, at least, take the time to see the movie before reacting this way and criticizing it. He further said that “satire is great for pointing out idiots.”

He admitted that he was in a similar situation back in 2008 when a protest against “Tropic Thunder” was launched by disabled groups after Robert Downey Jr. used the word “retard” in the movie. Theroux afterward had to explain that his intention wasn’t to mock the mentally challenged or exhibit any kind of cruelty but to revel in the stupidity of those who use the word.

“Zoolander 2” was also accused of placing Cumberbatch in the movie, who has identified with his assigned gender at birth and is, therefore, a cis. The petition claims that by hiring a cis person, the movie is endorsing harmful perceptions about the queer community. It also claims that if the movie had indeed wanted to offer social commentary on transgender individuals, they would’ve cast Andreja Pejic for the part.

Opinions differ on whether a petition such as this one is justifiable. Satire is a tricky business and there’s a thin line between subtly making fun of someone and downright humiliating them. Various people react differently to satire, and while some can appreciate its light-heartedness, others are appallingly offended.

It’s important to remember that, however, most of the time, it’s just a joke. And if nothing else, we should allow writers to express themselves in any way they please. Keep in mind that free speech and creative freedom are qualities that are absolutely essential in the movie business.

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