Oliver and director Tina Gordon co-wrote the film, which stars Marsai Martin, Issa Rae and Regina Hall. The screenplay is about a domineering boss who is cursed and reverted to a younger version of herself.
Little was highly promoted for its predominately female cast and Martin’s executive producer credit, which made her the youngest person to hold the title in Hollywood at the age of 14. However, after viewers watched the movie the scene with the offensive joke raised eyebrows.
During the scene, Hall’s character, Jordan, was scolded by a mother for kissing her boyfriend in public. A back and forth between the women ensued. At one point, the lead character referred to the woman’s daughter as a boy. Despite explaining that the child was a girl, Jordan responded by continuing to misgender her, asking, “Oh, he’s transitioning?”
On April 12, the screenwriter shared an interview she did with Entertainment Weekly titled, “How Tracy Oliver, the screenwriter behind Girls Trip and Little, is changing Hollywood.” The following day, Twitter user @shivvy replied to the tweet writing, “Is the answer ‘by including transphobic jokes in her movie’???”
More than one week later, Oliver responded, “As a feature writer, when you hand your draft (s) into the studio, you have no control over what ends up on screen. 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.”
In a tweet to another user, she added, “It was disheartening and mean spirited. I’ve been wrestling with speaking up or not, but I had to. That joke doesn’t represent who I am at all.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.