Area advocates for the intellectually and developmentally disabled are slamming a late-summer box office hit for its use of the "R" word.

"Tropic Thunder" is an action/comedy that focuses on a group of actors filming a war movie who end up involved in a real conflict. One of the sub-plots of the movie involves an actor whose previous claim to fame was portraying a man with an intellectual disability in a film-within-a-film titled "Simple Jack."

A promotional poster for "Simple Jack" states: "Once upon a time, there was a retard."

"Throughout the movie they use the word retard,'" said Arc Otsego Executive Director Joe Judd on Monday. "It's a really offensive term."

The movie, which opened Aug. 13, is playing at Southside Mall in Oneonta until at least this Thursday and possibly longer, according to a clerk at the mall's movie theater. The film debuted at No. 1 and has made nearly $100 million.

"The Arc of Delaware County views the R' word as hate speech. It's not cute and it's not funny. It hurts. It is demeaning and it reinforces negative stereotypes and damaging images," said George Suess, executive director of The Arc of Delaware County, in a letter to his agency's supporters and members.

Suess and others at the agency urged a boycott at the time of the movie's release.

"Tropic Thunder" has an all-star cast including Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte.

Ben Stiller, who co-wrote the screenplay for "Tropic Thunder," portrays the actor Tugg Speedman, who starred in the fictitious film "Simple Jack."

The movie is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America.

What makes "Tropic Thunder" particularly distressing is that the actors are all well-respected, Suess said.

"However, this time they've gone too far, and it's time for honorable citizens across the country to let them know they've made a mistake," Suess said.

Although people can be urged not to see the movie, many, especially impressionable teenagers, will eventually see it, Judd said.

It is important to point out to young people, he added, that it is not OK to use the term "retard" or make the intellectually or developmentally disabled the butt of jokes.

Attitudes about the intellectually and developmentally disabled have changed greatly in the last 20 to 25 years, Judd said.

"I think there has been a great stride forward," he said. "More and more people with disabilities are playing a larger part in daily life."

The national Arc organization was originally known as the National Association for Retarded Children. But over the years, it and the local Arc organizations have changed names.

In 1992, the name of the national organization was changed to what it is today, The Arc of the United States.

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