The trailer for Zoolander 2 has come under fire for portraying harmful stereotypical images of trans people.
The film is due to come out next year, yet Benedict Cumberbatch’s character “All” has already received heavy criticism for being “an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals.” The petition calls this character a “modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.”
The trailer also featured a transphobic joke, where Benedict Cumberbatch’s character was asked if they had a “hot dog or a bun”. The punchline is the crude way in which the character “Hansel” refers to All’s genitals, which has been seen as an intrusive and offensive way to ask if they were biologically male or female.
Many dismiss the claim that All is transphobic, claiming that comedy often requires exaggerated characteristics and mockery. Caricatures and oversimplifications are normal, and will almost always have the potential to upset someone.
However, many in support of the petition argue that stereotypical caricatures of oppressed groups is more harmful than the mockery of privileged groups or those in power. All, who would be seen by millions of movie-goers next year, would be perpetuating harmful stereotypes against non-binary people that contribute to their marginalisation.
Tor Smith, Gender Fluid Representative of University of Liverpool LGBT+ Soc, told us: “I think the trailer is quite transphobic, as it is putting the trans character as the butt of the joke.
“It does depend on whether it’s just bad editing of the trailer though, as the film could be fine in its entirety. This depends on who’s being made fun of, and for what reasons, but we wont be able to see that until the film is released.”
The petition is already currently over an impressive 13k signatures since the release of the trailer on the 18th of November.