Zoolander 2 co-writer Justin Theroux has the defend the film against critics who have called for it to be boycotted over Benedict Cumberbatch’s character. Cumberbatch’s character Ali was accused by some of being ‘transphobic’ when the film’s trailer hit last month and an online petition was launched calling for a boycott of the film.

Justin Theroux Zoolander 2 co-writer Justin Theroux

Speaking to The Wrap about the petition, which has so far received over 21,000 signatures, Theroux said: “I don’t even know what to make of it, because it hurts my feelings in a way. I take great care in the jokes I write, and the umbrage being taken is out of the context of the scene.”

More: Petition Calls For Boycott Of 'Zoolander 2' Over 'Harmful' Trans Character

“I wish people would see the movie first. Satire is a thing that points out the idiots, and we went through it on Tropic Thunder with the ‘R’ word,” he added. Theroux was also a co-writer for Tropic Thunder, which faced a similar controversy over Robert Downey Jr.’s character’s use of the word ‘retard’.

“The goal was not to mock or be cruel to the mentally challenged, but exalt in the stupidity of people who use that word. I’m all for letting words be ugly when the target is correct,” Theroux said.

“With social media and all the rest of it, people’s issues need to be heard … at the end of the day people are looking for bandwidth. People are looking for places to inject their voice. But our target is not, and never was, to disenfranchise anyone.”

More: 'Zoolander 2' Breaks Record For Most Watched Comedy Trailer

The petition against Zoolander 2 describes Cumberbatch’s character ‘a 'cartoonish mockery' of transgender, androgyne and non-binary individuals’. It goes on to say that ‘is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority.’ Zoolander 2 is set for release on February 12, 2016.

Watch the trailer for Zoolander 2 below: