Actor Ben Stiller’s new movie has been called such things as “a diamond in the cinematic dumping ground of late summer,” and a “bunker-buster assault on political correctness,”—among other things. Critics generally say it’s packed with laughs–unless you think a line such as “Once upon a time there was a retard” is funny.
Not people like Diana White of the Missouri Special Olympics. Her organization suggests the public boycott “Tropic Thunder” because of its heavy use of the r-word.
She says Special Olympics and other national disability organizations find the use of the word “retard” in one scene as much as 16 times and again throughout the movie is hurtful.
The Los Angeles Times says the movie is “an equal opportunity offender.” Variety says it undeniably provokes quite a few laughs, but of the most hollow kind.”
White says Special Olympics has been working hard to eliminate words like “retarded,” or “retard” from public discussion. She says the use of the word “in such a harmful way” has led the organization to take a stand.
She says producers consulted with civil rights activists because one of the white stars plays a black man, with war veterans because there’s a strong war theme—but never once consulted with disability organizations.