Activists call for Zoolander 2 boycott over Cumberbatch's gender-ambiguous model
It's not set to hit screens for another three months, but Zoolander 2 already finding itself embroiled in controversy over Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of a gender-ambiguous model.
A petition calling for a boycott of the follow-up to Ben Stiller's 2001 comedy classic has already amassed over 10,000 signatures, after campaigners took issue with a scene from the trailer in which the model is questioned about his or her genitalia.
The clip in sees Ben Stiller’s character Derek Zoolander ask: “Are you a male or female model?"
When Cumberbatch’s character replies: “All is all,” Owen Wilson's Hanson adds: “I think he's asking do you have a hotdog or a bun?”
Trans activists have denounced the portrayal as a "cartoonish mockery of trans people" and called on people to boycott the film entirely.
The petition's founder, Sarah Rose, writes: “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.”
She added: “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 Pejić 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 movie's producers and Cumberbatch himself are yet to comment on the controversy.
Zoolander 2 hits cinemas in February 2016.
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