Zoolander 2 screenwriter ‘hurt’ by transgender petition

Justin Theroux has compared the controversy over the androgynous model played by Benedict Cumberbatch to similar outrage over Tropic Thunder

Actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux has spoken out about the controversy surrounding his latest film Zoolander 2, claiming that anger is being misdirected.

Therouxs script for the comedy sequel features a cameo from Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays an androgynous model called All. The characters appearance in the trailer, coupled with some provocative dialogue (I think hes asking if you have a hotdog or a bun?), has sparked outrage online.

A petition to boycott the film has garnered 21,000 signatures, with signees claiming the film is harmful and dangerous to the trans community.

I dont even know what to make of it, because it hurts my feelings in a way, Theroux said to TheWrap. 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, who also wrote the script for Tropic Thunder, compared the situation to the use of the word retard in the Ben Stiller comedy, which he claims was also taken out of context.

The goal was not to mock or be cruel to the mentally challenged, but exalt in the stupidity of people who use that word, he said. Im all for letting words be ugly when the target is correct. With social media and all the rest of it, peoples 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.

The petition compares the character and the casting of a cisgender actor as the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.

Ben Stillers sequel to the 2001 hit reunites him with Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell and will be released in cinemas in the US and the UK on 12 February.

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