Zoolander 2 writer Justin Theroux ‘hurt’ by transphobia accusations
The actor and writer says it was never his intention to upset anybody.
Justin Theroux has addressed the controversy surrounding his upcoming film Zoolander 2.
The screenwriter insists that he wasn’t trying to offend the transgender community by including Benedict Cumberbatch’s androgynous character.
After a trailer for the sequel was released last month, some activists even called for a boycott of the film.
However, Theroux – husband of actress Jennifer Aniston – claims the reaction came as a shock to the team behind the film.
“Our target is not, and never was, to disenfranchise anyone,” he told The Wrap.
“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,” he added.
“I wish people would see the movie first. Satire is a thing that points out the idiots.”
Satirical or not, scenes featuring the aforementioned character have warranted anything but laughter from some members of the trans community.
The clip features the Sherlock star being introduced to Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s lead characters, prompting Stiller to ask “Are you a male or female model?”
Cumberbatch’s character then replies “All is all”, to which Wilson states: “I think he’s asking do you have a hotdog or a bun?”
Many from the LGBT community were quick to slam the “awful, unfunny” joke, which pokes fun at the increasing amount of androgynous models hitting catwalks across the world.
Advocate Sarah Rose went one step further – launching a petition to boycott the film, which is set for release in February 2016.
The petition – which is close to hitting its target of 25,000 signatures – claims: “Cumberbatch’s character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals.
“This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.”
“If the producers and screenwriters of Zoolander wanted to provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry, they could have approached models like Andreja Pejic to be in the film.”
Supermodel Andreja Pejic came out as trans last year – and her mainstream acceptance has been followed with the growing use of androgyny and trans models across the fashion world.