Special Olympics Missouri to boycott film

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | 8:36 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The film "Tropic Thunder," a comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black, will premiere in Columbia on Wednesday. The movie centers on a group of actors who go too far into enemy territory while making a war film. But, some argue, the film itself went too far in other areas as well.

Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., Special Olympics Missouri staff and other supporters will gather to protest "Tropic Thunder", citing its demeaning portrayal of people with intellectual disabilities, according to a news release. The local boycott, which will take place at Hollywood Stadium 14 Theaters' opening night showing, is part of a national grass-roots campaign protesting the offensive use of the word "retard" in popular culture.

According to the Special Olympics Web site, "Tropic Thunder" "contains scenes promoting the idea that a ‘retard' is funny."

In conjunction with these protests, Special Olympics is launching the "R-word" campaign, advocating for the removal of the word "retard" from mainstream language, according to the Special Olympics Web site.

A coalition of national disability organizations, including Special Olympics, "engaged in conversations with DreamWorks to address the content, asking that they delete the objectionable scenes, but the studio refused to do so," according to the Web site.

"Tropic Thunder" will also have showings at the Forum 8 Theater.


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