Intellectual disability groups boycott "Tropic Thunder"

Nancy Bottelo
Nancy Bottelo
Kainoa Bostock
Kainoa Bostock
Bijan Kazemi
Bijan Kazemi

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU-- ( KHNL) It's set to open in theatres August 15th, but already a local group is giving a new hollywood movie the thumbs down for what it calls insensitivity to those with intellectual disabilities.

The movie "Tropic Thunder" opens with stars like Ben Stiller this weekend.

It's supposed to be comedy about actors who are forced to play actual soldiers, but agencies like Special Olympics Hawaii aren't laughing.

With it's use of the word "R-word" multiple times, intellectual disability advocates call the film derogatory and demeaning.

As the saying goes, sticks and stones may break my bones, but Special Olympics Hawaii says names really can hurt.

"The R-word is similar to what the N-word was back in the 50's and 60's," said president Nancy Bottelo.

Nancy Bottelo, knows the pain athletes with disabilities feel when ridiculed with names like the "R-word." About 22 other disability groups nationwide are also boycotting the film.

"People use it to be very demeaning and derogatory towards a group of people who are probably the least respected group in society," said Bottelo.

"We didn't mean to offend anyone in anyway, but it's an R-rated comedy and of course they're entitled to their opinion," said actor Ben Stiller.

Movie-goers are anticipating the film with mixed reactions.

"I still think it looks like a good movie. I'm not bothered by the use of the word retard," said Kainoa Bostock.

"I don't think you should pick on people that are retarded or disabled at all, it's a fine line and those kids have a special place in every body's family," said Bijan Kazemi.

"It's their choice and if they do go see the movie I hope what they get out of it is don't use the R-word," said Bottelo.

With about 7.5 million people with intellectual disabilities nationwide, Special Olympics Hawaii says standing up against "Tropic Thunder is its way of overcoming hatred and honoring the challenged community.

At it's national premiere in Los Angeles, advocacy groups protested against the film, as a sign to educate those about the ignorance behind the word. No local protests are planned.