When re-watching a childhood classic Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, it’s surprisingly easy to notice some slightly problematic areas, which were just par for the course during first viewing. Think about what happened to Friends. The classic sitcom came to Netflix, and everyone realized how terribly the show treats queer people, minorities, and fat people alike.
Father time can be cruel, especially in terms of comedy, and as we become more and more aware of how we treat others, our past viewing pleasures have to come under the microscope. The latest victim? Jim Carey comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
The phenomenon was brought to the world’s attention by Joe Rogan. He is a former television host and actor, who is now best known for his stand-up comedy and prolific podcasting career.
In the past, most jokes were fair game, but nowadays, we’ve all learned and grown-up. Humor made at the expense of someone else’s feelings (particularly of someone who’s less privileged) just doesn’t seem that funny anymore.
What’s the strange part?
The movie’s problems center around the treatment of one character in particular. The character in question is Lois Einhorn, or Ray Finkle. Finkle is a football player disgraced at the Superbowl, who then becomes Einhorn.Ace Ventura humiliatingly strips Einhorn down to her underwear in front of police officers, to “prove” who she “really is.”
This scene gets even more graphic. Ventura turns Einhorn around to show the cops the nature of her genitalia. It’s honestly hard to watch and seems a particularly disturbing choice for a kid’s movie.
After seeing Einhorn in her underwear, the police have a very visceral reaction.
“All the cops are throwing up … It’s off the charts. Everyone is freaking out. It is so insanely transphobic,” Rogan shared.
Although, some have leapt to the movie’s defence.
A commenter on one article wrote, “Can I just point out that Transphobia wasn’t added to the English dictionary until 2013, which means it was only a known term after 2003. Ace Ventura was released in 1994 before the internet was even a well-established thing, the writers probably didn’t even know what transphobia even is.”
But majority of the people are offended because of the image this movie paints of trans people.
I’m realizing the first Trans person I was exposed to was in Ace Ventura. The film where she’s forced to reveal her genitals and every man in the movie vomits…..when I was a kid I didn’t get it really, but I’m sure it has negatively impacted my understanding of myself.
— Chrystal Williams 🏳️🌈 (@ChrystalWRox) June 30, 2020
Model and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf shared an emotional Instagram post on the topic.
View this post on Instagram
When I was growing up, transgender women – especially transgender women of colour had next to zero positive representation in the media and there was almost no information or understanding about us. If we were portrayed on television or in films, it was solely in tragic storylines or with our gender as the punchline of a joke. 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. This film was given a PG certificate. Imagine being eight years old, knowing that you're transgender but not having the language to verbalise it and then 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. However, I'm a whole person, with flaws, aspirations and interests. I'm often referred to a role model for the community, which annoys me because none of us need to be compared to each other. But I'm definitely down to be considered as a role option if anyone does see themselves in me or my story. Thank you L'Oréal for giving me this platform, I hope it reaches another little 8 year old trans girl and makes her feel a little more hopefull and a little less scared about her future, than what was installed in me when I was her age. The world is changing and I like how the world is changing. Because we are ALL worth it. #allworthit #yourstruly @lorealmakeup.