A petition has been launched over an adoption joke in the new Avengers movie that organisers have slammed as "insulting".
The petition, which has 247 signatures, is over a line muttered by Chris Hemsworth's character Thor, after Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow tells him his brother Loki - a villain - has killed "80 people in two days".
Thor replies: "He's adopted."
Petition organiser Jamie Berke said scriptwriter Joss Whedon should have thought about how the line would impact on viewers who were adopted themselves.
"According to your scriptwriter, the fact (Loki) was adopted is the reason he is a bad guy," Berke said.
"Being adopted is not something to use for the butt of jokes. Marvel, immediately cease using adoption as the butt of jokes and issue a public apology to the adoption community."
"The line where I say, 'He's adopted' - I had no idea that would be funny," Hemsworth said.
"When we shot that, I went, 'Is this really funny?'
"But, that's the thing. Joss is hilarious. The whole film, I was surprised how the comedy in it played so well."
Fans struck out at the "joke" in the comments section on the petition.
"How ridiculous that in this day and age our children are being targeted if they are not ours through biology. How hurtful and wrong," said Lisa Willson, whose son is adopted.
"With that one line in the movie you are showing both ignorance, and prejudice."
- Herald online