Ben Stiller is no fan of President Trump, but even the Tropic Thunder and Zoolander actor isn’t offended enough by Trump’s 20 year-old cameo in his comedy film about a male model to remove it.
During his interview on the “The New Abnormal” podcast, the Hollywood celebrity revealed that certain people have been pushing him to get a tiny scene featuring the current president and his wife Melania removed from the 2001 comedy. Though Stiller dismissed these requests to remove the former businessman’s appearance from Zoolander, claiming he’s not worried about it because that was a different time.
The question of the scene’s removal has become prevalent as various groups have pushed to censor offensive content from movies and TV since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. Lefty coalitions like Black Lives Matter believe that Floyd’s death is symptomatic of a racist, oppressive American society, thus films like Gone With The Wind and shows like The Golden Girls have been amended to appease sensitive folk.
The scene with Trump and Melania is a six second long mock interview featuring the then-businessman’s opinion of the fictional male model Derek Zoolander. In the footage the now-president states, “Look, without Derek Zoolander male modeling wouldn’t be what it is today.”
The scene of course was just a gag for the sake of building the illusion that Zoolander had modeling industry cred, but since there are plenty of people who have a visceral reaction to seeing Trump, it has raised some alarms. Thankfully, Stiller isn’t that sensitive.
Stiller described shooting the scene: “We were shooting at the now defunct VH1 Fashion Awards, and as people were coming up the red carpet, we pulled them aside and asked them to talk about Derek Zoolander, and so Trump and Melania did that.”
The actor described how people can’t abide by that history, with their current hatred of Trump’s political career. Stiller claimed, “I've had people who reached out to me and said, like, 'You should edit Donald Trump out of ‘Zoolander,’ and all that.” Though the actor mentioned that he wasn’t about to alter his film for the sake of a scene that was fine in the context of its own place and time.
Stiller stated, “But at the end of the day, it's kind of like, again, that was a time when that exists and that happened."
The actor, who is also famous for his role in the Night At the Museum series and for his stint as the villain in Dodgeball also got into a discussion about some of his movies probably couldn’t get made today. He specifically referenced Tropic Thunder, which is famous largely because of its in-your-face satirical depiction of “blackface” performed by A-lister Robert Downey Junior.
“When I think about movies that I've worked on in the past, and I look at them now, definitely there are jokes and scenes and that I go, 'Oh, I don't know if we could have gotten away with that today, at all.’”
He made the appeal to the importance of context for when his more “offensive” films were made, saying It doesn't necessarily mean that anything was more appropriate at another time but you have to look at the context and realize that that's what was happening.” Yeah perhaps Stiller realizes that if he bought into the left’s current purge, his career would be erased.