Ben Stiller has denied issuing an apology on behalf of his hit comedy Tropic Thunder after it was targeted by woke millennials for perceived racist undertones and offensive depictions of the disabled.
The Stiller directed film about a group of hapless actors who are forced to fend for themselves after getting lost while filming a war movie on location in Vietnamese jungle was a global hit following its release in 2008.
But it has since been labelled racially offensive in some quarters due to Robert Downey, Jr’s portrayal of Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method actor who surgically darkens the pigment of his skin to play an African-American soldier..
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Stiller, 57, staunchly defended the film and insisted he has never apologized for his decision to develop the film from an original screenplay co-written by the actor and Justin Theroux.
His admission was a response to one of numerous posts issued in defense of the film, in which he also starred alongside Downey, Jr, Jack Black, Brandon T. Jackson, Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey.
‘@BenStiller Please stop apologizing for doing this movie. It was and still is funny AF… Even funnier now with cancel culture the way it is. It’s a MOVIE.
‘Ya’ll [sic] can just get over it. I was DYING laughing when I first saw it back in the day and so was everyone else,’ the post read.
In response, Stiller tweeted: ‘I make no apologies for Tropic Thunder. Don’t know who told you that. It’s always been a controversial movie since when we opened. Proud of it and the work everyone did on it.’
A second social media follower drew attention to an historic tweet from actor, posted in response to a lighthearted claim that Tropic Thunder should be banned after US snowboarder Shaun White dressed as Simple Jack, a disabled character in the film, for Halloween in 2018.
Commenting at the time, Stiller wrote: ‘Actually Tropic Thunder was boycotted 10 years ago when it came out, and I apologized then.
‘It was always meant to make fun of actors trying to do anything to win awards. I stand by my apology, the movie, Shaun White, And the great people and work of the @SpecialOlympics.’
Following its release the film sparked a coalition of more than 20 disability advocacy groups, among them the Special Olympics, to protest against its liberal use of the word “retard.”
More recently Downey, Jr has been targeted by woke millennials for his role as a white actor portraying a black character, despite the self-aware nature of Stiller’s script and his decision to seek approval from the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) before it as released.
Discussing the film in 2020, Downey, Jr admitted he had his own reservations about taking the role, which ultimately won him a 2009 Oscar nomination, before having a change of heart.
‘I thought: “Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll do that after Iron Man,”‘ he told The Joe Rogan Experience. ‘And then I started thinking, “This is a terrible idea.”
‘I thought: “Hold on, dude. Get real here. Where is your heart?” My heart is a) I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so there’s something in it for me.
‘The other thing is I get to hold up to nature the insane, self-involved hypocrisy of artists and what they think they’re allowed to do on occasion.’