This is opening weekend for the movie "Tropic Thunder," which is the subject of protests in several cities nationwide, including Cedar Rapids. Advocates for people with mental disabilities want movie-goers to boycott the film because it includes frequent use of the word "retarded." Troy McCarthy, of Cedar Rapids, is the parent of a child with down syndrome and says the "R-word" is cruel. McCarthy says, "It’s a demeaning word, much like a racial slur would be."
McCarthy has twin nine-year-old sons, Gabe and Nathan. Both boys joined in the protest, carrying signs and asking others to follow their lead and boycott the movie. Gabe defended his brother, Nathan, who has down syndrome. He says, "I really want people to support my brother, literally, he’s my brother."
The McCarthys were joined in their protest by more than a dozen other members of the Hawkeye Area Down Syndrome Association, or HADSA.
Film co-writer, actor and director Ben Stiller says the use of the word "retard" was not meant to offend anyone, rather, actors use the word to refer to Stiller’s character, Simple Jack. The movie contains many uses of the R-word. In a clip, you hear a character saying, "You went full retard, man, never go full retard."
DreamWorks Pictures, the production company that released the R-rated movie, says no changes will be made to the film, adding, the movie is in no way meant to harm the image of individuals with disabilities.