Ben Stiller, the director of the smash hit Tropic Thunder, recently defended the film on Twitter, saying, “Tropic Thunder receives no apologies from me. I’m not sure who told you that. Since the beginning, it has been a contentious film. I’m proud of it and everyone who worked on it.”
The man behind the hit comedy Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller, recently defended the film on Twitter after a Trump supporter with a large following expressed disappointment over Stiller’s alleged apology for the film’s use of blackface. Stiller responded with, “Tropic Thunder receives no apologies from me. I’m not sure who told you that. Since the beginning, it has been a contentious film. I’m proud of it and everyone who worked on it.”
The film, which was released in 2008, featured Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, which has sparked debate over the years. However, it is important to note that the use of blackface in the film was largely well received at the time of its release, with positive feedback from the NAACP and several African American film journalists. The film’s portrayal of a character with intellectual disabilities, as well as its use of the R-slur, sparked outrage in 2008, prompting activist groups to boycott it.
@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 can just get over it. I was DYING laughing when I first saw it back in the day and so was everyone else. pic.twitter.com/HEyR0ztQD4— Benny S. (@BennySings) February 21, 2023
Stiller has previously addressed the controversy, tweeting in 2018 that he had apologised for the film’s depiction of intellectual disabilities. There is no record of him apologising for using blackface. In 2018, TMZ contacted Stiller’s representatives in an attempt to locate a record of the apology but received no response.
Stiller has stated that the film’s use of inappropriate and over-the-top characters in ridiculous situations was intended to satirise Hollywood and its excesses. Dreamworks, the film’s production company, also issued a statement during the controversy stating that no changes or cuts would be made to the film.
Despite the controversy, Tropic Thunder is still a popular comedy and a fan favourite. Stiller, Downey Jr., Jack Black, and Tom Cruise were among the cast members who delivered memorable performances that have stood the test of time.
White Chicks by the Wayans Comparison
The Trump supporter who tweeted at Stiller also compared Tropic Thunder to the Wayans’ film White Chicks, noting that the Wayans never apologised for the film’s use of whiteface. While the comparison may appear to be accurate on the surface, there are significant differences between the two films.
The Wayans Brothers portrayed two white women in heavy makeup and prosthetics in the 2004 film White Chicks. While the portrayal of white women in the film was criticised, it was not as contentious as Tropic Thunder, which featured a white actor in blackface.
Furthermore, Marlon Wayans addressed the controversy surrounding White Chicks in a 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, stating that he would not make the film today due to changes in cultural sensitivity. He also admitted that the film had hurt some people and apologised for any harm done.
Stiller, on the other hand, has never apologised for his use of blackface in Tropic Thunder, and there is no record of him doing so. While the film’s controversy may never be resolved, it remains a classic comedy that continues to entertain audiences around the world.
Despite the controversy surrounding Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller has maintained his support for the film and its content. He has stated unequivocally that he makes no apologies for the film and is proud of everyone who worked on it. The Tropic Thunder controversy has been misconstrued, with many people believing that blackface was the main issue.
The larger issue at the time, however, was the portrayal of a character with an intellectual disability and the use of the R-slur. While Stiller has previously apologised for this, he remains committed to the film and its message.
Ben Stiller defends ‘Tropic Thunder’ and says he is “proud” of the film despite use of blackface:— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 24, 2023
“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.” pic.twitter.com/ARZnZeA0wZ