Zoolander 2 accused of transphobia over Benedict Cumberbatch role

AN online petition accusing Zoolander 2 of displaying transphobia – and compared Benedict Cumberbatch’s role to an actor playing blackface – has called for a boycott of the film.

Benedict Cumberbatch, left, in Zoolander 2
Benedict Cumberbatch, left, in Zoolander 2

The petition now has over 9,000 signatures and is a complaint against the 39-year-old’s depiction of a transgender model, All.

Sarah Rose, who generated the petition, wrote: “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 Pejic to be 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.”

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Some Twitter users, including @AlixFox, defended the film. She wrote: “[The film shows] Cumberbatch’s character as a cartoonish caricature of trans models” - Zoolander presents EVERYONE as a cartoon caricature.”

Benedict Cumberbatch, left, in Zoolander 2

Due to be released on February 12, Ben Stiller’s model alter ego is returning to the screen after a 15-year break alongside Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch and Justin Bieber.

In the sequel, Stiller and Wilson are coaxed out of retirement and rejoin the world of high fashion after the world’s most beautiful people are killed off, all posting photos of Zoolander’s signature pose - Blue Steel.