Critics threaten a boycott of Zoolander over Benedict Cumberbatch's 'cartoonish' transgender character and say it is the 'modern equivalent of blackface'

  • Cumberbatch plays androgynous model 'All' in the film who is dubbed the 'biggest supermodel in the world' 
  • In the film Stiller's Derek Zoolander asks if All is a 'male or female model'
  • Owen Wilson's Hansel then asks 'do you have a hot dog or a bun?' 
  • A petition to boycott the film has received almost 8,000 signatures
  • Petition author Sarah Rose called the character a 'cartoonish mockery' that endorses 'harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community' 

The upcoming Zoolander sequel has come under fire after a new trailer was released featuring an androgynous model played by Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Critics are calling Cumberbatch's character, named 'All' in the film, a 'cartoonish mockery' of transgender, androgyne and non-binary individuals - and 'the modern equivalent of blackface'. 

In the trailer, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are introduced to 'All', who has been dubbed the 'biggest supermodel in the world'. 

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Critics are calling Cumberbatch's character 'All' (pictured), a 'cartoonish mockery' of transgender, androgyne and non-binary individuals and 'the modern equivalent of blackface'

Critics are calling Cumberbatch's character 'All' (pictured), a 'cartoonish mockery' of transgender, androgyne and non-binary individuals and 'the modern equivalent of blackface'

In the trailer Stiller's Derek Zoolander (right) asks Alli 'Are you a male model or a female model?' and Wilson's character Hansel (left) inquires if All has 'a hot dog or a bun' 

In the trailer Stiller's Derek Zoolander (right) asks Alli 'Are you a male model or a female model?' and Wilson's character Hansel (left) inquires if All has 'a hot dog or a bun' 

'Are you like a male model or a female model?' Stiller's Derek Zoolander asks All. 

'All is All', replies Cumberbatch, who dons a long wig. 

Owen Wilson's character Hansel then attempts to get a more clear answer. 

'What I think he's asking is do you have a hot dog or a bun?' he asks. 

Cumberbatch giggles and then responds 'Oops,' putting a hand to his mouth in mock shyness. 

An online petition urging a boycott against the film - which will be released in February - has since garnered nearly 8,000 signatures. 

Petition author Sarah Rose writes in the protest's description: 'Cumberbatch's character is clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals.

Cumberbatch giggles and then responds 'Oops', putting a hand to his mouth in mock shyness

Cumberbatch giggles and then responds 'Oops', putting a hand to his mouth in mock shyness

'This is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.

'If the producers and screenwriters of Zoolander wanted to provide social commentary on the presence of trans/androgyne individuals in the fashion industry, they could have approached models like Andreja Pejic to be in the film.' 

Pejic came out publicly as a transgender woman and underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2014 after years of walking major runway shows for both men and women's fashion as a male model. 

Rose said the character All mocked transgender, androgyne and non-binary individuals. She encouraged people to sign the petition and pledge to boycott the film. 

'By hiring a cis [non-transgender] actor to play a non-binary individual in a clearly negative way, the film endorses harmful and dangerous perceptions of the queer community at large,' she writes. 

An online petition urging a boycott against the film, which will be released February 2016, has since garnered nearly 8,000 signatures

An online petition urging a boycott against the film, which will be released February 2016, has since garnered nearly 8,000 signatures

Petition author Sarah Rose criticized the film for hiring a non-transgender actor to play the character 'in a negative way' instead of hiring a transgender or androgynous model such as Andreja Pejic (pictured)

Petition author Sarah Rose criticized the film for hiring a non-transgender actor to play the character 'in a negative way' instead of hiring a transgender or androgynous model such as Andreja Pejic (pictured)

People have since taken to Twitter to express their dismay with Cumberbatch's character. 

'30 seconds into the Zoolander 2 trailer and it's already transphobic. Awesome,' wrote one user. 

'Mostly on-board with Zoolander 2, but ughhhh that joke with Benedick Cumberblech in the trailer spells major bad news,' wrote another. 

One user wrote that the trailer left her 'so disappointed', adding at the end of her tweet the hashtag #TransLivesMatter. 

Just watched Zoolander 2 trailer. So disappointed. So transphobic,' she wrote.

Some users on Twitter came to the film's defense, arguing that the joke was misinterpreted. 

'Someone clearly misunderstood the joke in the Zoolander 2 trailer,' tweeted one user. 'It's not transphobic. It's about Zoolander being a dumba**. Again.'

The sequel to the beloved 2001 film will star Stiller and Wilson, as well as Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, with appearances by Joe Jonas and Justin Bieber among many star cameos. 

Zoolander 2 revolves around the washed-out Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald rejoining the world of high fashion to track down the person assassinating the world's most beautiful people.  

Zoolander 2 revolves around the washed-out Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald (pictured) rejoining the world of high fashion to track down the person assassinating the world's most beautiful people

Zoolander 2 revolves around the washed-out Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald (pictured) rejoining the world of high fashion to track down the person assassinating the world's most beautiful people

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