A trailer for the comedy sequel, which Justin co-wrote with its star Ben Stiller, was released last month (Nov15) and showed Benedict Cumberbatch playing an androgynous model.

Benedict's portrayal angered transgender activists, who called it a "cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals", and a petition was launched in a bid to stop movie fans seeing the film.

Justin has now spoken out against the campaign, insisting his gags have been taken out of context, and he has compared the outrage to protests over another Ben Stiller project he helped pen, 2008's Tropic Thunder.

"I don't even know what to make of it, because it hurts my feelings in a way," Justin tells TheWrap.com, "I take great care in the jokes I write, and the umbrage being taken is out of the context of the scene.

"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."

The premiere of Tropic Thunder was picketed by disability rights campaigners who were protesting about the use of the word "retard" in the film.

However, Justin is adamant the Tropic Thunder protests were also misguided, adding, "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...

"With social media and all the rest of it, people's issues need to be heard... 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."

The anti-Zoolander petition also criticises the filmmakers for failing to cast a transgender or androgynous actor in the role played by Benedict, and urges fans to pledge not to watch it following its February (16) release.