Ben Stiller
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
April 2, 2024 ·  4 min read

Ben Stiller makes ‘no apologies for Tropic Thunder’ in response to ‘cancel culture’ criticism

Comedy is an interesting genre. More than just making people laugh, it can be satirical, brutally honest, and can often rub some people the wrong way. What is funny to some can be offensive to others, and there are blurred lines between what is and isn’t okay to make a joke about. Back in 2008, comedic actor Ben Stiller made the highly controversial movie Tropic Thunder. In the wake of the “cancel culture” that has been more present in recent years, people online have begun talking about this movie yet again. However, Stiller says that he will not apologize for the movie in response to it.

Ben Stiller Will Not Apologize For Film “Tropic Thunder” In Wake of Cancel Culture

Released over a decade ago, Ben Stiller’s movie Tropic Thunder has been controversial since the beginning. When it first opened in theaters, many people chose to boycott it for its portrayal of people with disabilities and minority groups. Many were also angered that Robert Downey Jr. donned blackface to portray a black man in the movie. (1)

What is Tropic Thunder About?

The basis of the film is a parody of a war film. It was a satire with heavy influence from the film Apocalypse Now. In the movie, Tom Cruise portrays a movie producer who is in desperate need of a hit film. He decides to try and make an adaption of the memoir Tropic Thunder about the Vietnam war. This man attempts to make the most expensive movie about the war ever created, hiring a group of actors, all with their own quirks and issues. (2)

Director/actor Ben Stiller signing autographs prior to a screening for Tropic Thunder at Camp Pendleton. Wikicommons

As things go off-rails and the movie is climbing steadily further over budget, the film’s director decides to drop the actors in the middle of an actual war zone to simulate realistic warfare. Things only get worse from there as the actors accidentally get on the wrong side of an infamous drug ring. They then have to actually become the soldiers they are supposed to be portraying, despite not knowing how to use their weapons or anything about jungle navigation.

The movie is known for its incredibly crude humor as well as some of its controversial depictions of disabilities and people of color. Stiller and the filmmakers say the purpose is to make fun of Hollywood. It is a satire that is meant to mock the way the industry works, as well as poke fun at the ridiculous lengths actors and actresses will go to gain critical acclaim.

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Not The First Time It’s Been Called Out

Naturally, many people found the movie highly offensive when it first came out in 2008. Ten years later, in 2018, the call to boycott the film came around again thanks to a Halloween costume by American snowboarder Sean White. White dressed up as one of the characters Jeff Portnoy, who Jack Black played in the film. He received heavy backlash on social media for the costume choice, leading to him apologizing for his decision.

One person commented online, calling for a boycott of the 10-year-old film. Ben Stiller chimed in saying that the movie had actually already been boycotted in 2008 and that he had apologized for it then. Stiller wrote this in response:

“It was always meant to make fun of actors trying to do anything to win awards. I stand by my apology, the movie, Shaun White, And the great people and work of the @SpecialOlympics”.

Still Proud

Recently, a fan tagged Stiller in reference to this movie. The fan asked Stiller to please stop apologizing for the film, saying that modern cancel culture makes it even funnier than it was when it came out originally.

“Please stop apologizing for doing this movie. It was and still is funny AF. Even funnier now with cancel culture the way it is. It’s a MOVIE. Y’all can just get over it,” the fan wrote. I was DYING laughing when I first saw it back in the day and so was everyone else.”

This tweet was attached to a photo of a news headline that claimed that Ben Stiller was being forced to apologize over the movie all these years later. Stiller responded to the tweet, reminding everyone not to believe everything they read. There was no truth to the headline, and he wasn’t apologizing for anything.

“I make no apologies for Tropic Thunder. 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.” he wrote.

So if anyone is wondering: No, Ben Stiller won’t be apologizing for Tropic Thunder, nor will any of his castmates. According to them, anyone who finds it offensive can simply not watch it. Everyone else is free to enjoy it as they will.

Keep Reading: Snoop Dogg Wish Cancel Culture Would Try To Cancel Him: “My Fan Base Is Bigger Than Cancel Culture”


  1. Ben Stiller makes ‘no apologies for Tropic Thunder’ in response to ‘cancel culture’ criticism.” Unilad. Katherine Sidnell. February 22, 2023.
  2. Film / Tropic Thunder.” TV Tropes