Ben Stiller Says He Won’t Cut Donald Trump from ‘Zoolander’ Amid Fan Backlash

"At the end of the day, that was a time when that exists and that happened," Stiller said of Trump's cameo in his 2001 comedy.
Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1642964a)Zoolander, Ben StillerFilm and Television

Ben Stiller has revealed that, despite outcry from fans calling for a brief scene featuring the current United States President to be cut from the film, he won’t be editing Donald Trump out of his 2001 comedy “Zoolander.” Stiller discussed the controversy on a recent episode of The Daily Beast’s podcast “The New Abnormal.”

“I’ve had people reach out to me and say, you should edit Donald Trump out of ‘Zoolander,'” Stiller said, referring to a scene set at the VH1 Fashion Awards that includes Donald and Melania Trump as red-carpet interviewees discussing the greatness of self-obsessed male model Derek Zoolander. “But at the end of the day, that was a time when that exists and that happened,” said Stiller about requests to edit the film.

“Zoolander” isn’t Donald Trump’s only screen appearance. By this logic, his appearances would also require removal from films such as “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “Two Weeks Notice,” “The Little Rascals,” and “Celebrity,” as well as the series “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Spin City,” “Sex and the City,” “Suddenly Susan,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “All My Children,” and “The Nanny.” There’s also the longtime reality series Trump executive-produced, “The Apprentice.”

“There were so many movies [back then] that had a silly cameo from Donald Trump,” Ben Stiller, who directed and starred in “Zoolander,” said. “He represented a certain thing.”

Regarding the scene (below), Stiller said, “We were shooting at the now defunct VH1 Fashion Awards… and as people were coming up the red carpet, we pulled them aside and asked them to talk about Derek Zoolander, and so Trump and Melania did that.”

Stiller followed up the film with a 2016 sequel, “Zoolander 2,” of which Donald Trump was famously not a fan.

In the podcast, Stiller also discussed his 2008 comedy “Tropic Thunder,” which is controversial for featuring a meta Robert Downey Jr. in blackface portraying a white, Australian movie star doing method acting in blackface. “’Tropic Thunder’ probably would not have been made [in 2020],” Stiller said. “It would be tone deaf right now to make it.”

Head over to The Daily Beast to listen to the full podcast.

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