Some people were grateful that Stiller took accountability for the more problematic parts of “Tropic Thunder,” while others saw Stiller as another victim of an over-corrective cancel culture.
“Please stop apologizing for doing this movie,” a “Tropic Thunder” fan named Benny S. tweeted at Ben Stiller in February 2023. “It was and still is funny AF … Even funnier now with cancel culture the way it is. It’s a MOVIE. Ya’ll can just get over it. I was DYING laughing when I first saw it back in the day and so was everyone else.”
Despite Stiller’s remarks in 2018, he seems to have taken a firmer stance in defense of the film since the backlash has died down. “I make no apologies for ‘Tropic Thunder,'” Stiller replied to Benny S. on Twitter. “Don’t know who told you that. It’s always been a controversial movie since when we opened. Proud of it and the work everyone did on it.”
Stiller may have forgotten what he tweeted in 2018, but Benny S. didn’t. “I’m guessing people saw [the 2018 tweet]…. and took it, misconstrued it and ran with it,” he offered. “That movie is a classic to this day. I stand with you bro.”
Maybe Stiller never meant to apologize for the film, only for the way that a certain character had been misinterpreted. When it comes to media that could be construed as offensive, is intention what’s most important? Or is it only a small piece of the appropriation puzzle?