Tropic Thunder: Premiere of Stiller’s Satire Protested by Disability Advocates

August 12, 2008–Disability advocates protested Monday night’s Westwood premiere of Ben Stiller’s satire “Tropic Thunder” for its use of the word retard. “Ban the movie, ban the word,” their signs said, with such slogans as “R-word= hate speech” passing out flyers urging a boycott of the comedy.

The DreamWorks film, which features Ben Stiller playing an actor best known for his role as a mentally challenged man in the ficticious drama “Simple Jack,” has irritated advocates in recent weeks, leading to Monday’s big protest.

Security was notably stronger and tighter for the premiere event. Views of the red carpet were blocked off by 10-foot-high green fences. Defying customs, there was no premiere after-party.

Inside the Mann Village Theatre, the stars included Stiller and Tom Cruise, and the public laughed at the jokes that featured the use of the controversial word. When the film’s Robert Downey Jr. implores Stiller’s character to “Never go full retard” for chasing the Oscar, some viewers applauded enthusiastically.