So I got on Twitter yesterday, as I do everyday, and saw something I was truly shocked by. I saw a statement from Universal Pictures saying it was not going to release its upcoming film, The Hunt. Since I’m an avid moviegoer I’d seen the trailer for it several times and was actually fairly excited to see it. I couldn’t see why Universal would pull this film until I started reading up on the details. Once I understood what was going on, I was pissed.
The statement from Universal focused on the recent mass shootings and claimed it wasn’t the right time to release this film. While I can understand that, I didn’t agree when I read it because I really don’t think this film – or any film – is a factor in the gun violence epidemic we’re facing. So I already disagreed with the studio’s reasoning behind their decision Then I saw that a tweet Donald Trump sent out was a driving force behind this. I saw when he sent it out and it was mindless garble of course, claiming Hollywood is to blame for the recent violence due to making violent movies. It makes sense he would tweet this because it goes along with him and the rest of the GOP’s claim that video games and Hollywood are to blame for the mass shootings… anything to avoid the real issues.
But what I didn’t realize when I saw the tweet was that he was targeting The Hunt specifically and that Universal had already paused the marketing campaign due to backlash. I just thought this tweet would be dismissed like all his other ones as typical Trump babbling. I never thought I’d see any major Hollywood studio give in to Trump, but alas Universal now has. People that are happy with this decision claim that the plot revolved around elite liberals hunting Conservatives and “Red state people” for sport. I think that interpretation of the plot is wrong and that they’re assigning political affiliation where there is none. Yes, it’s absolutely true that the plot of The Hunt is about elites who hunt average people for sport, but there has been nothing in the trailers that suggest these elites are liberal or that the people being hunted are conservatives or Trump supporters.
Make no mistake, what Universal Pictures has done by pulling their film is play right into Donald Trump’s and the GOP’s hands. They’re going along with the idea that movies and video games are the problem. That’s a mistake. Instead of rewarding these misguided narratives why don’t we continue to focus on the real problems. How about the fact that assault weapons, which are legal since the ban lapsed, have been used in a lot of the mass shootings recently? Or what about the gun show loophole? Or background checks? What about how Mitch McConnell won’t even bring up the background checks bill passed by the House for a vote? We could also talk about mental health treatment and how to better improve that. I mean seriously does anybody really buy into this ridiculous narrative that video games and films are what we should focus on in the wake of these horrible shootings?
Look, everyone agrees we have a gun violence epidemic that is killing us. At this point, no one can dispute that. Now, the big question is, are we going to focus on real issues and solutions or are we going to legitimize the President’s distractions? Because let’s face it, all of this is a distraction by him and the Right. They can’t go after the NRA or talk about gun laws, so they just blame Hollywood and violent video games. I urge Universal to change course because I think it’s very dangerous to give into these types of false narratives. Also, I can’t imagine how the cast and crew of The Hunt feel right now, to think you’re film is being cancelled because you’re this week’s target of Trump’s tweets.
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