People Are Getting Offended Rewatching Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

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The 90s were a busy time for Jim Carrey. In 1994 alone he starred in The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

And while it’s only a matter of time before he comes under fire for dressing up in greenface, or playing someone with a below average IQ, it’s Ace Ventura which seems to be the latest in a line of old films and TV shows currently being raised as problematic for a younger generation.

Cast your minds back, if you can – the 90s comedy featured Carrey as the titular pet detective, tasked with finding out who stole the Miami Dolphins’ mascot, the aptly named dolphin Snowflake.

If you haven’t seen it – spoiler alert – it turns out to be detective Einhorn, who was once a kicker for the Dolphins named Ray Finkle. Finkle was blamed for the Dolphins losing a Superbowl when he missed a kick that would’ve won the game. Subsequently, Finkle was never heard of again.

It turned out though, Finkle was heard of again, he was just disguised as the female Lieutenant Einhorn in order to exact revenge on the team that cast him out.

Some people, having rewatched the film, are now saying the film is transphobic, especially as – when the other characters discover Einhorn used to be Finkle – they start wretching.

While, when Ventura finds out, he re-enacts the shower scene from The Crying Game – a film about a transwoman – in which he breaks down in tears in the shower.

The issue, though not unnoticed previously, has gained widespread attention thanks largely to Joe Rogan and his podcast.

In a recent episode, Rogan said:

Do you know what I made the mistake of doing yesterday? I watched Ace Ventura: Pet Detective with my eight-year-old and my 10-year-old. I didn’t realise how transphobic that fucking movie is.

Seeing the awareness of the issue as a positive, Rogan’s guest, the writer and editor Bari Weiss, said:

When I saw that movie, I was 10. Transphobia was not a thing. Now it is a thing. That’s good. That’s good news.

You can watch it here, the Ace Ventura discussion starts around 1 hour 47 minutes in:

It’s not just Rogan who found the film offensive. Model and social activist Munroe Bergdorf also recently spoke about the film and its effect on her.

She wrote:

When I was growing up, transgender women – especially transgender women of colour had next to zero positive representation in the media and there was almost no information or understanding about us. If we were portrayed on television or in films, it was solely in tragic storylines or with our gender as the punchline of a joke.

As an 8 year old, I remember watching the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, starring comedian Jim Carey, at a classmates house after school. Sorry to ruin the ending if you haven’t seen it (don’t bother), it ends in the movie’s villain being caught, stripped to her underwear and exposed as in fact ‘a man’. Then to add insult to injury, everyone in the room starts vomiting as they have all engaged in sex with her. This film was given a PG certificate.

Imagine being eight years old, knowing that you’re transgender but not having the language to verbalise it and then seeing a scene like this including a trans person, played by a cis woman – it may see trivial to some but I carried that ‘punchline’ throughout my adolescence, it made me feel guilty and confused about who I truly was, so I pushed my true self into my subconscious and tried to be someone I was not.

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When I was growing up, transgender women – especially transgender women of colour had next to zero positive representation in the media and there was almost no information or understanding about us. If we were portrayed on television or in films, it was solely in tragic storylines or with our gender as the punchline of a joke. As an 8 year old, I remember watching the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, starring comedian Jim Carey, at a classmates house after school. Sorry to ruin the ending if you haven't seen it (don't bother), it ends in the movie's villain being caught, stripped to her underwear and exposed as in fact 'a man'. Then to add insult to injury, everyone in the room starts vomiting as they have all engaged in sex with her. This film was given a PG certificate. Imagine being eight years old, knowing that you're transgender but not having the language to verbalise it and then seeing a scene like this including a trans person, played by a cis woman – it may see trivial to some but I carried that 'punchline' throughout my adolescence, it made me feel guilty and confused about who I truly was, so I pushed my true self into my subconscious and tried to be someone I was not. Fast forward two decades and I am so proud to be doing my bit for transgender visibility in the media. I'm by no stretch of the imagination a perfect person, but none of us are. However, I'm a whole person, with flaws, aspirations and interests. I'm often referred to a role model for the community, which annoys me because none of us need to be compared to each other. But I'm definitely down to be considered as a role option if anyone does see themselves in me or my story. Thank you L'Oréal for giving me this platform, I hope it reaches another little 8 year old trans girl and makes her feel a little more hopefull and a little less scared about her future, than what was installed in me when I was her age. The world is changing and I like how the world is changing. Because we are ALL worth it. #allworthit #yourstruly @lorealmakeup.

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Others, however, don’t view the issue the same way:

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.