Zoolander 2 Facing Boycott Due to Accusations of Transphobia

Illustration for article titled iZoolander 2/i Facing Boycott Due to Accusations of Transphobia

Zoolander 2 won’t be out in theaters until next year, but the film is already receiving backlash due to an androgynous character played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

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In a recently released trailer, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) are introduced to All, Cumberbatch’s supermodel character. Zoolander asks, “Are you like a male model or a female model?” to which Cumberbatch’s character replies, “All is All.” Hansel explains, “I think he’s asking is do you have a hot dog or a bun?”

According to the Independent, the portrayal of Cumberbatch’s character has prompted a call for the film’s boycott, with users on social media labeling the film as transphobic. An online petition calls the character an “over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals,” and the “modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.” The petition is currently over 8,300 signatures, just a few hundred short of its 9,000 goal.

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The petition also suggests if the movie wanted to “provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry,” they could have chosen to ask models such as Andreja Pejic, an Australian trans model, to appear 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,” it reads.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Stiller and Paramount have not yet commented on the accusations or the boycott. The film is out in theaters in February.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

Image via YouTube/Paramount Pictures.

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DISCUSSION

Oh, step on a rusty nail, haters. This is clearly a parody of the absurdity of the fashion world these days and not transphobic at all. I don’t even think he is supposed to be transgender in the first place. I think he’s supposed to be alien-like. Which is also a joke on how people have compared Cumberbatch’s appearance to an alien over and over again. For Pete’s sake “All” doesn’t even have eyebrows and he is literally staring off in space. He is supposed to look as weird and as alien as possible. If you were to put an actual transgender model like Andreja Pejic, you would have missed the joke completely. Pejic doesn’t look like a weird alien. She is stereotypical beautiful. Not ugly, bizarre beautiful like the Cumberbatch stereotype but simply beautiful.