Ben Stiller Offers 'No Apologies' in Response to 'Tropic Thunder' Controversies

Tropic Thunder was released in the early days of the 2000s, making audiences laugh with Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black satirizing the over-the-touch egos of Hollywood. But the way this was executed became a bit of a topic after the growth of the Black lives matter movement and Hollywood's diversity problem.

Downey's Kirk Lazarus dressed in blackface to portray African American Sgt. Lincoln Osiris, there's a running joke about people with disabilities, and more back in 2008. Ten years after that, Stiller did apologize somewhat and noted not everybody was a fan upon its release. And in 2023, Stiller has decided apologies aren't everything.

"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," Stiller wrote in response to a fan on Twitter. Many have brought up his older apology post on Twitter in an effort to "gotcha" Stiller in some way, but times change.

The film also has no shortage of defenders, which has likely helped it survive the backlash that led to past TV episodes being pulled and other movies being changed. But Tropic Thunder is untouched outside of online discussions and the stars of the movie went on to bigger success afterward. Robert Downey Jr. is likely the biggest success from the cast and he talked about his experience with Joe Rogan in 2019.

"He 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," Downey told the podcaster/comedian. "And 90% of my Black friends were like, 'Dude, that was's never an excuse to do something that's out of place and not of its time, but to me, it was just putting a – it was a blasting cap."

Downey maintains that he knows where his heart was while making the film, and that the film itself had its heart in the right place, too. Plenty would disagree and see no place for the type of humor in the film, but for now, there's a balance.