The trailer for the forthcoming Ben Stiller film "Zoolander 2" has outraged some members of the transgender community.
The film is a satire of male models, and one of the characters is a model named All. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, All is of indeterminate sex. In the trailer All is asked by model Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and fellow model Hansel (Owen Wilson) if he or she is male or female. "Do you have a hot dog or a bun?" Hansel asks. "All is all," All replies.
Soon after the trailer was released, a petition to boycott the film was launched. It has garnered over 11,000 signatures. The petition (errors in original) reads:
On November 18th, the much-anticipated trailer for the sequel to Ben Stiller’s hit film ‘Zoolander’ was released.
In the "Zoolander 2" trailer, an androgynous character played by Benedict Cumberbatch is asked by Zoolander and Hansel if he is a ‘male or female model’, and if they ‘have a hot dog or a bun’. Additionally, 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. By hiring a cis actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, they film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large.
Tell Paramount Pictures, Ben Stiller, and Benedict Cumberbatch that mocking transgender/androgyne/gender fluid individuals is not okay - sign this petition to pledge to boycott the film!
"Zoolander 2" will be released February 12, 2016.