It’s often the case that, when watching films or TV shows from previous decades, some things which seemed funny back “in the day” aren’t morally acceptable now.
The US sitcom Friends, for example, is frequently cited as containing homophobic jokes that ring hollow today. This time, UFC commentator and radio host Joe Rogan has condemned Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, calling the movie “insanely transphobic”.
Rogan discussed his shock at realising how “super transphobic” the 1994 film, which stars Jim Carrey, is in a taping of his show. He said:
Do you know what I made the mistake of doing yesterday? I watched Ace Ventura: Pet Detective with my eight-year-old and my ten-year-old.
I didn’t realise how transphobic that f**king movie is.
The main plot twist of the film, which comes at the end, sees a detective played by Sean Young revealed to be "a man" after presenting as a cisgender woman throughout the movie. The “transgender” villain is stripped down to their underwear in front of police officers.
All the cops are throwing up… It’s off the charts.
Everyone is freaking out. It is so insanely transphobic.
Rogan then suggested whether the film should be banned, before his guest said that his reaction is actually a sign that things are changing for the better.
When I saw that movie, I was ten. Transphobia was not a thing. Now it is a thing. That’s good. That’s good news.
Rogan is not the first to condemn the scene. Trans model Munroe Bergdorf has previously spoken about the negative impact of watching Ace Ventura: Pet Detective as a child.
She said on Instagram:
As an 8 year old, I remember watching the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, starring comedian Jim Carey, at a classmates house after school.
Sorry to ruin the ending if you haven’t seen it (don’t bother), it ends in the movie’s villain being caught, stripped to her underwear and exposed as in fact ‘a man’. Then to add insult to injury, everyone in the room starts vomiting as they have all engaged in sex with her.
Seeing a scene like this including a trans person, played by a cis woman—it may see trivial to some but I carried that ‘punchline’ throughout my adolescence, it made me feel guilty and confused about who I truly was, so I pushed my true self into my subconscious and tried to be someone I was not.
Fast forward two decades and I am so proud to be doing my bit for transgender visibility in the media. I’m by no stretch of the imagination a perfect person, but none of us are.