September 22, 2019
Robert Downey Jr. doing blackface
Ben Stiller directed the movie Tropic Thunder, where Robert Downey Jr. culturally and visually appropriated the Black Man Persona.
This was not in 2001, like when Justin Trudeau dressed up like an Islamic rapist for a party – it was in 2008, 7 years later, and for much more than a party.
I publicly denounce both of them for this sick act of racism where they mocked black people for profit.
Wikipedia on Tropic Thunder:
The film received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the film’s characters, story, faux trailers, and the performances of Stiller, Downey, Black and Tom Cruise, though the depiction of the mentally handicapped and usage of blackface makeup were seen as controversial. The film’s soundtrack and score debuted on August 5, 2008, before the film’s theatrical release. Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks released the film in the US on August 13, 2008. In its North American opening weekend, the film earned $26 million and retained the number one position for the first three weekends of release. Downey was nominated for an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, with both him and Cruise receiving nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. The film grossed more than $188 million worldwide before its release on home video on November 18, 2008.
The Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture are guilty of not only endorsing blackface but also rewarding the sick, violent act of blackface.
To make things worse, the fact that blackface made its way to Jewish people in Hollywood really shows how much pervasive this white supremacist practice is.
Wikipedia on Ben Stiller:
Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965 in New York City and raised on the Upper West Side. His father, comedian and actor Jerry Stiller, is from a Jewish family that emigrated from Poland and Galicia in Central Europe. His mother, actress and comedian Anne Meara, who was from an Irish Catholic background, converted to Reform Judaism after marrying his father. While they “were never a very religious family”, they celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas, and Stiller had a Bar Mitzvah.
If we don’t stop the kind of white supremacist rhetoric that normalizes blackface, even the most oppressed group of people on Earth will become racists.
Wikipedia on Robert Downey Jr.:
Downey was born in Manhattan, New York, the younger of two children. His father, Robert Downey Sr., is an actor and filmmaker, while his mother, Elsie Ann (née Ford), was an actress who appeared in Downey Sr.’s films. Downey’s father is of half Lithuanian Jewish, one-quarter Hungarian Jewish, and one-quarter Irish descent, while Downey’s mother had Scottish, German, and Swiss ancestry. Robert’s original family name was Elias which was changed by his father to enlist in the Army. Downey and his older sister Allyson grew up in Greenwich Village.
The Jewish people were victims of white supremacy themselves. Despite this fact, they’re vulnerable to the Nazi ideas that are so widespread on America nowadays.
Both Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. are victims of this normalization of racism, but that doesn’t excuse them from what they did. After all, they did profit from blackface.
If they want to atone for their sin, they should give all of the movie’s earnings to black people.