In Depth

Benedict Cumberbatch accused of transphobia in Zoolander 2

Campaigners call for a boycott after actor was accused of making a 'cartoonish mockery' of transgender people

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Some members of the LGBT community are urging audiences to boycott the forthcoming Zoolander 2 film because of Benedict Cumberbatch's "transphobic" performance.

Campaigners argue that the actor's character, an androgynous model, is a "cartoonish mockery" of transgender, androgyne and non-binary individuals. 

In a recently released trailer, the two main characters are introduced to Cumberbatch's character called All – who is described as the "biggest supermodel in the world."

"Are you like a male model or a female model?" asks Ben Stiller's character Derek, to which Cumberbatch's character answers: "All is all".

"I think he's asking is do you have a hot dog or a bun?" says Owen Willson's Hansel. The model replies with a giggle and a shy "oops".

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petition calling for a boycott of the film has received almost 9,000 signatures. "This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority," says campaign organiser Sarah Rose.

"By hiring a cis [someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth] 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," she argues.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Stiller and Paramount Pictures have yet to comment on the accusations.

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