Activists Call Benedict Cumberbatch’s Zoolander 2 Character ‘Transphobic’

He plays a gender-fluid model named All.

An online petition with more 12,000 signatures is calling for the boycott of Zoolander 2, which activists say features an offensive depiction of a transgender person. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson reprise their roles as Zoolander and Hansel in the sequel, which is set to hit theaters this February. The trailer for the movie came out last week, stoking outrage over a gender-fluid model named All, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Petitioners write:

“In the "Zoolander 2" trailer, an androgynous character played by Benedict Cumberbatch is asked by Zoolander and Hansel if he is a ‘male or female model’, and if they ‘have a hot dog or a bun’. Additionally, 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.”

Those critical of what they’ve seen in the trailer are also taking issue with the film’s casting of a cis person in the role of a trans character, although this is certainly not the first time this has happened. In The Danish Girl, which premiered this month, cis actor Eddie Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, a transgender artist who was one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery; his casting became the subject of criticism. There are other recent Hollywood cases in which transgender characters were removed from films altogether, and replaced with cisgender characters. Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall did exactly that (also becoming a target for boycott), and subsequently tanked in theaters.

More prominent voices have raised concerns over Zoolander 2, including transgender model Tschan Andrews, who told The Guardian that the small preview of dialogue showcased in the trailer reduces transgender people to their body parts.

“I do find it quite offensive. It’s essentially a man in wig dressing as a trans woman,” Andrews said. “If there are trans models out there, why not let them play the role? If you are going to portray that story, you have a chance to investigate it and do it properly.”

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less