DreamWorks has put the kibosh on simplejackmovie.com — a website aimed at promoting the studio’s upcoming comedy “Tropic Thunder” — in response to criticism from disability rights advocates.
The elaborate site was created by the marketing department of Paramount Pictures, which releases all of DreamWorks’ films, as an homage to a character played by Ben Stiller’s Oscar-chasing actor character. In the film, which opens Aug. 13, Stiller plays a thesp best known for his performance in a fictitious drama titled “Simple Jack” — a satirical jab at Hollywood actors’ proclivity for taking on mentally challenged characters.
The site, which was aimed at teenage boys and garnered fewer than 35,000 hits, featured a poster with Stiller and the tagline “Once upon a time … there was a retard.”
A consortium of groups including the Special Olympics and the Down Syndrome Assn. of Los Angeles first contacted the studio Friday and set up a meeting with DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider and other senior executives to discuss their concerns about the film. That meeting is scheduled to take place this afternoon .
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DreamWorks decided to pull the plug on the site Monday night as a preemptive move.
“We heard their concerns, and we understand that taken out of context, the site appeared to be insensitive to people with disabilities,” DreamWorks spokesman Chip Sullivan said.