“Little,” a comedy about a 40-year-old woman stuck in 13-year-old’s body, has received positive reviews since it was released a couple of weeks ago, but one joke from the movie is being criticized.
In the opening sequence of the Atlanta-filmed flick, Regina Hall’s character, Jordan, mistakes a young girl in the hallway of her building for a boy. When the child’s mother corrects her, Jordan replies, “Oh, he’s transitioning.”
Moviegoers quickly pointed out the moment, calling it insensitive and transphobic. Many directed their frustrations toward Tracey Oliver, the lead writer of the project.
Oliver took to Twitter to respond to the backlash. She revealed she did not write the joke, and said it was added after her draft was submitted.
“As a feature writer, when you hand your draft(s) into the studio, you have no control over what ends up on screen,” she tweeted. “Often, you're elated. Other times, you're disappointed. I did not write that particular joke and was disappointed to see it. It was insensitive and unnecessary.”
She said she was “shocked” to see it and “wrestled with speaking up or not.”
“That joke doesn’t represent who I am at all,” she added.
Filmmaker Lena Waithe, a vocal LGTBQ advocate, came to Oliver’s defense on Twitter. She said Oliver is not transphobic and explained TV scripts can also be edited after a draft is turned in.
The film’s studio, Universal Pictures, has not responded to the criticism. The film, which also stars Marsai Martin and Issa Rae, is still in theaters.