DreamWorks Pulls "Tropic Thunder" Site
Thu, 07 Aug 2008 10:12:30
DreamWorks has pulled www.simplejackmovie.com, an elaborate microsite that Paramount's marketing department created to promote the hotly anticipated comedy Tropic Thunder, offline. Advocates for disability rights complained about the site's content, claiming it stepped over the boundaries of good taste by making fun of the mentally disabled, so the studio yanked it from cyberspace to curb further offense.
The site was geared toward teenage boys and served as an homage to Ben Stiller's character in Simple Jack, the film within a film alluded to in Tropic Thunder. In it, Stiller plays an actor who desperately wants an Oscar for his role as a mentally challenged individual. The film and Stiller's character arc are satirical and take aim at Hollywood cliches, but that didn't stop advocacy groups from protesting. The site wasn't a runaway success, receiving only 35,000 hits since its inception. The site displayed a poster of Stiller followed by the tagline, "Once upon a time...there was a retard." The Special Olympics and the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles were the first groups to protest the site, setting up a meeting with DreamWorks brass to discuss their issues with the film and the site. The films opens August 15.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff