Hollywood producer and director Peter Berg is under fire over an image that he shared on his Instagram account on Wednesday that takes aim at the selection of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, as the recipient of this year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs.
Berg, who created TV show "Friday Night Lights" and directed the film "Lone Survivor," posted a picture of a soldier next to a separate image of Jenner. The caption read, "One Man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs. Guess which Man made the cover of Vanity Fair, was praised for his courage by President Obama and is to be honored with the ‘Arthur Ashe Courage Award’ by ESPN?"
The soldier in the photo was Gregory Gadson, who played in Berg's film "Battleship," according to the Washington Post.
A photo posted by Peter Berg (@pberg44) on
The meme was seemingly created and shared by the Main Stream Media Sponsor Boycotts Facebook page on June 3. It came with a message from the individual posting it that read, "I am neither condemning nor condoning Bruce Jenners 'transformation,' I am merely pointing out that I think the hoopla surrounding BCJ is misplaced."
Berg's Instagram followers quickly reacted, with some bashing the director for posting the image, and others explaining where he might be coming from on the contentious matter.
"I'm confused by your photo post. Are you implying that in order to receive the Ashe Award you have to be a man?" wrote user TQuad64. "One thing that I'm not confused about is your lack of tolerance. #NoRoomForHate."
Another user named Ejbelisle3 wrote, "Him loosing his legs has nothing to do with ESPN or Sports or him being an athlete."
Neeshiminaj added, "Praising Caitlyn Jenner is an isolated event. It has nothing to do with the man you can't even name. Why can't we acknowledge both successes? There's one award. For one person. But there's plenty of other opportunities to acknowledge other people's accomplishments instead of berating one person for one success."
Still, others defended the message that is embedded in the controversial meme.
"The Arthur Ashe award is an award for courage. [Berg] isn't saying anything about gender, he's just enlightening us on how f**ked up our country can be," wrote user ryan.marcus. "I'll give it to Jenner, what she did does take courage, but not as much courage as the soldier who lost both of his legs in battle, competes with people with no disability, and wins. Or Lauren Hill, who was battling cancer and put up a hell of a fight while continuing her dream of being a college basketball player. Those acts take courage."
Some expressed their belief that changing one's gender isn't heroic. Read more of the responses here.
(H/T: Washington Post)