Zoolander 2: LGBT campaigners call for boycott over Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘cartoonish’ transgender character

Film is due for release in February 2016

Upcoming movie sequel Zoolander 2 and actor Benedict Cumberbatch have been accused of transphobia by critics.

The first trailer for the film was released earlier this week and sees Cumberbatch take on the role as transgender super model All. In the trailer, which you can see below, Ben Stiller’s Zoolander character is introduced to All as the “biggest supermodel in the world”.

“Are you like a male model or a female model?” Stiller’s character asks, to which Cumberbatch’s character answers “All is All”. Owen Willson’s Hansel then adds, “I think what he’s asking is do you have a hot dog or a bun?”


LGBT groups have branded Cumberbatch’s character a “transphobic joke” and a petition calling for a boycott of the movie has collected over 8,000 signatures.

Sarah Rose, the creator of the petition, wrote: “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.

“By hiring a cis 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.”

Zoolander 2 is due for release on February 12, 2016. The film will see Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander and Owen Wilson’s Hansel McDonald struggling to find their place in the cutthroat modern fashion world, before a secret agent played by Penelope Cruz recruits them to infiltrate a dangerous organisation which is systematically killing off the world’s “beautiful people”.

Writer-director-star Ben Stiller shot the sequel earlier this year in Rome from a script he has co-written with his Tropic Thunder collaborator Justin Theroux. Alongside Stiller and Wilson, Will Ferrell and Christine Taylor are also reprising their roles from the original Zoolander film.


Joining them in the sequel are Cruz, Kristen Wiig and Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen, while Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Willie Nelson have all signed up for cameos too.