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France - "Tropic Thunder" Photo Call

Source: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis / Getty

Ben Stiller publicly defended his Tropic Thunder movie recently, which garnered controversy over Robert Downey Jr. appearing in blackface in the film among other issues.

The actor and writer was mentioned in a tweet about the film last Tuesday by a Trump supporter who goes by “Benny Sings.” The individual wrote: “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 can just get over it. I was DYING laughing when I first saw it back in the day and so was everyone else.”

In an included text statement, the user noted that the Wayans Bros didn’t apologize for White Chicks in which they appeared as two white women. Stiller would respond afterward, writing: “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.”

The 2008 comedy movie, which features Stiller and Downey Jr. along with Jack Black, drew a swarm of backlash on its release mainly for Stiller’s role as Tugg Speedman, who played a character in the fictional film-within-the-film Simple Jack that disability advocates felt mocked them. They pointed to the usage of the R-slur in particular in their criticisms.

Downey Jr. would also face some backlash for his role as Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus, who opts to darken his skin to play a Black soldier. The Iron Man actor did express his reservations about taking the role while appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2019, which would wind up earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor the following year. “Sometimes, you just have to go, ‘Yeah I effed up,'” he said. 

Stiller appeared to apologize for that or claimed to in another tweet in 2018 prompted by Olympic medalist Shaun White appearing as Simple Jack for a Halloween costume. “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,” he wrote. 


Photo: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis / Getty