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Ben Stiller's 'Tropic Thunder' Under Fire

Aug 11, 2008 | 5:04am EDT

Disability advocates are planning to picket the Los Angeles premiere of Ben Stiller's latest movie Tropic Thunder in protest over its depiction of people with learning difficulties.

The film, which also stars Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., has been slammed by 22 disability groups in the U.S. who oppose the satire's repeated use of the word 'retard' in association with one of its main characters, Simple Jack.

Protestors now plan to picket the movie's premiere in L.A. on Monday night, August 11, and are calling for demonstrations against the film to be held across the U.S.

Peter Berns, spokesman for Special Olympics, one of the groups opposed to the film, says, "We are asking people not to go to the movie and hope to bring a consciousness to people about using derogatory words about this population. That will be the start of a nationwide protest. We will continue to be vocal about the destructive effect of this film."

However, studio bosses have refuted the claims, insisting they have met with disability advocates to discuss the movie and are planning no changes to the controversial footage.

Chip Sullivan, a representative for the film's studio Dreamworks, says, "Tropic Thunder is an R-rated comedy that satirizes Hollywood and its excesses, and makes its point by featuring inappropriate and over-the top characters in ridiculous situations. The film is in no way meant to disparage or harm the image of individuals with disabilities."

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