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Movie Opens to Protests in Idaho

August 11, 2008

Boise, ID - A movie that revolves around a character described as a "retard" is getting "two thumbs down" in Idaho, and around the country. "Tropic Thunder" opens this week amid protests from advocates for people with intellectual disabilities.

Cindy Bentley, who is a former U.S. Special Olympics Athlete of the Year, says the movie is an opportunity to let people know how words can hurt.

"This is a terrible word, and people that I know with disabilities do not like that word. To me, it's a swear word and it's disgusting."

Bentley says it's clearly used as a derogatory term in the movie, and it evokes painful memories for thousands of people with intellectual disabilities.

"We got teased in school with that word. It's a terrible word to be using. All my friends that I know have intellectual disabilities, but they're not 'retarded.'"

The movie studio has issued a statement saying the film's goal is to make fun of actors and Hollywood, although they did pull movie trailers using the word "retard."

Idaho is the site for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - ID