The Zoolander 2 trailer has been available to the public for less than a week, but it has caused a massive stir online.
Just as its prequel did, the second installment of Zoolander looks as though it will include numerous cameo appearances, and people are not happy with the character adopted by Benedict Cumberbatch.
From the limited preview of the English actor he seems to portray an androgynous model who goes by the name ‘All’.
In the clip Cumberbatch does not answer the question of whether he has a ‘hot dog or a bun’, and the exchange has been labelled a’ transphobic joke’.
benedict cumberbatch's zooland character is a transphobic joke and u can bet fandom tumblr's gonna say it's "brave and "representation"
— cerys (@cxxrys) November 19, 2015
A petition online has been signed over 8,000 times by people offended and concerned by the message the film is promoting, and calling for a mass boycott.
An appeal on the site reads:
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.
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.”
Opinion on social media is also clearly divided on the topic.
benedict cumberbatch is gross and this movie is transphobic ew
— ronald mcdumbass (@bleezeblocks) November 21, 2015
Really wanted to like the Zoolander 2 trailer but the seemingly transphobic Benedict Cumberbatch character left a bad taste. Also Bieber.
— Joel Jessup (@Bizunth) November 18, 2015
@EsPyramid It's a dumb comedy, everyone is supposed to be a caricature – get over yourself. And what did Cumberbatch ever do to you?
— Evelyn Spoon (@bennyluuv) November 22, 2015
@fangirlJeanne you people are ridiculous. How is that in any way offensive? You're so predictable and boring…
— AlterEgoiste (@AlterEgoiste) November 18, 2015
@fangirlJeanne I genuinley don't understand? All you have seen is a two second clip of him saying oops why is that offensive?
— Demi Longworth (@DemiPlongworth) November 22, 2015
The film is set for official release in February of 2016, and it will be interesting to see consensus on the character once the film is seen in full.