Advocates Call For Boycott of Zoolander 2

The release of the trailer for the upcoming move, Zoolander 2, has prompted a call for its boycott by some LGBTQ advocates. Zoolander 2, set to premier on February...

The release of the trailer for the upcoming move, Zoolander 2, has prompted a call for its boycott by some LGBTQ advocates.

Zoolander 2, set to premier on February 12, 2016, is a follow-up to Ben Stiller’s original hit Zoolander, released in 2001. Like the original, the movie stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrel as comically dimwitted participants in the modeling industry. In the sequel, one of the new characters introduced is All, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Cumberbatch’s portrayal of All, as seen from the trailer, has raised alarm from transgender advocates. When, Wilson and Stiller’s characters meet Cumberbatch, they ask: “Are you, like, a male model or a female model?” To which Cumberbatch replies “All is all.” Wilson, doubling down on the gender binary, says: “I think he’s asking – do you have a hotdog or a bun?” Cumberbatch giggles in reply.

Based on that scene, Sarah Rose, on Care2 Petitions, has circulated an online petition explaining her rationale in calling for the boycott.

”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, the film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large.”

The petition has a goal of 8,000 signatures and currently has 7,060 signees.

Both TheWrap and Entertainment Weekly have requested comments from Paramount Pictures, but the film studio has not responded.

You can watch the trailer for Zoolander 2 below.

Image Courtesy of Sam Hughes, via Wikimedia Commons

Gwen Matthews

Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.


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