Ben Stiller said he “makes no apologies” for doing the controversial 2008 film “Tropic Thunder.”
The actor was responding to a Twitter user who asked him to “stop apologizing for doing the movie.”
“Proud of it and the work that everyone did on it,” Stiller added.
Ben Stiller has no regrets when it comes to “Tropic Thunder.”
The 2008 action comedy, which also starred Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black, drew criticism for its portrayal of disabled people and Downey Jr.’s use of blackface.
On Tuesday, Stiller responded to one Twitter user who said the actor should “stop apologizing for doing this movie.”
“It was and is funny AF,” the user tweeted earlier this week. “Even funnier now with cancel culture the way it is. It’s a movie. Ya’all can just get over it. I was dying laughing when I first saw it back in the day and so was everyone else.”
Stiller, who starred in and directed the movie, responded later that same day.
“I make no apologies for ‘Tropic Thunder,'” the actor wrote. “Don’t know who told you that. It’s always been a controversial movie since when we opened. Proud of it and the work that everyone did on it.”
“Tropic Thunder” follows a hapless group of actors shooting a war movie who are dropped into the jungle and forced to survive using their questionable acting skills when they stumble into a real-life war zone.
In the film, Stiller portrayed Tugg Speedman, an action movie star who thinks he can win an Oscar by portraying a dim-witted farmhand with a bowl haircut, buck teeth, and a stutter.
The same Twitter user also resurfaced an old tweet of Stiller’s from 2018 in which the actor discussed the boycott around the film when it came out. Upon the film’s release in August 2008, 20 disability advocacy groups objected to the use of the word “retard” in the movie.
“Actually ‘Tropic Thunder’ was boycotted 10 years ago when it came out, and I apologized then,” Stiller tweeted in 2018. “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 Special Olympics.”
Downey Jr., meanwhile, played Kirk Lazarus, a method actor who darkens his skin to play a Black soldier. The actor has previously said he was initially reluctant to take the role, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 2009.
“Ben knew exactly what the vision for this was, he executed it, it was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie,” Downey Jr. said on a podcast episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” in 2019. “And 90% of my Black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great.’ I can’t disagree with the other 10%, but I know where my heart lies.”
Added Downey Jr.: “I think that it’s never an excuse to do something that’s out of place and out of its time, but to me, it blasted the cap on the issue. I think having a moral psychology is job one. Sometimes, you just gotta go, ‘Yeah I effed up.’ In my defense, ‘Tropic Thunder’ is about how wrong [blackface] is, so I take exception.”
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