Following the removal of several TV series, people are now debating about Robert Downey Jr’s blackface character in Tropic Thunder.
Over the last few weeks, Black Lives Matter sparked a wider conversation about social justice, equal human rights and representation.
The global movement led to people sharing experiences where they faced discrimination over their race. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry has also taken action about some of their previous work which viewers found offensive.
Netflix has recently removed the BBC comedy series Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen over their portrayal of black characters.
And now people are having a hot debate on social media about another portrayal – Robert Downey Jr’s character in Tropic Thunder.
Tropic Thunder: Robert Downey Jr’s character
Tropic Thunder stars Robert Downey Jr as an Australian actor called Kirk Lazarus, an internationally-recognised actor and five-time Academy Award winner.
Lazarus is based on the portrayal of three other stars, Russell Crowe, Daniel Day-Lewis and Colin Farrell.
The character undergoes a pigmentation procedure to make his skin darker for the portrayal of Staff Sergeant Lincoln Osiris in a Vietnam war movie.
People react to Downey Jr’s character
Following the global movement of Black Lives Matter, Downey Jr’s blackface character has once again sparked debates on social media.
Some have called for the removal of the movie from online platforms since they find the character offensive.
However, others have defended Downey Jr’s character since he plays a character who does blackface.
One social media user said: “It’s satire, not blackface, so he’ll never be canceled. As a black woman, I’m not offended by Tropic Thunder, the movie is funny and it addresses serious topics of the movie industry in a way that is bold and super clever.”
Robert Downey Jr defends character
Downey Jr previously spoke about the controversial portrayal and defended the character.
Speaking to Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast earlier this year, Downey Jr explained:
“[Ben Stiller] knew exactly what the vision for this was, he executed it, it was impossible to not have it be an offensive nightmare of a movie. And 90 percent of my black friends were like, ‘Dude, that was great’.”
He continued: “I can’t disagree with [the other 10 percent], but I know where my heart lies. I think that it’s never an excuse to do something that’s out of place and out of its time, but to me, it blasted the cap on [the issue]. I think having moral psychology is job one.”
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