• Is Hollywood being hypocritical?

    by  • January 20, 2015 • Movies, Television, Violence • 17 Comments

    Clint Eastwood’s new film, American Sniper, opened in theaters and raked in a record $105.3 million over the long holiday weekend.   Obviously, this is a pretty staggering sum, anAMERICAN-SNIPERd ranked the movie alongside most of last summer’s blockbusters in terms of its initial gross.  I was among the throngs who saw the film over the weekend, and to be sure, American Sniper is not a movie for children.  It is filled with realistically graphic, bloody war violence, a great deal of profanity and other adult themes and is rightfully rated R for that content.

    The PTC’s mission is strictly to protect children from sex, violence and profanity in entertainment.  So it’s not my place to make any political commentary about the film, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s story, or contemporary geopolitics and I will not do so here.   Frankly, others are better qualified to comment on that aspect than I am, so I’ll let them do it.

    However, this film and some of the reaction to it have laid bare some of the most callous hypocrisy I’ve ever come across out of Hollywood – and that’s no small feat.

    News clips highlight a great deal of criticism from within Hollywood of the film, Chris Kyle and other messages the movie contains.  Some are critical that the film glorifies a “hate-filled killer.”  Others take issue with how the political issues behind the story are addressed (or not).

    But the reaction by some within Hollywood itself is particularly hypocritical:

    But Academy members seem to be paying attention to the criticism that Eastwood and star/producer Bradley Cooper shouldn’t be celebrating a man who wrote that killing hundreds of Iraqis was “fun.”

    “He seems like he may be a sociopath,” one Academy member told TheWrap, adding he had not yet seen the film but had read the article, which is being passed around.

    That seems like pretty harsh criticism of a story about a member of the U.S. military. But even if you accept the premise that Chris Kyle was a “sociopath,” how would that make him any different from many of the lead characters that appear on television night after night?  Did the same critics wring their hands about the drug dealing, meth-creating Walter White of “Breaking Bad?”  Have these critics not seen the impact of the sociopathic Hannibal Lecter on the eponymous show on NBC?  What about the serial killer Dexter, which aired for years on Showtime and even CBS for a time?  Were these critics not around when “Sons of Anarchy” featured some of the most intense violence and graphic sex ever put on television?

    My point is not to defend American Sniper or the life of Chris Kyle.  It is to highlight the very simple fact that media content does indeed have an impact on its audience.  That’s the very purpose of creating art, but with that opportunity comes responsibility.  The entertainment industry does a lousy job of accepting responsibility for the material that it produces and distributes, so why is it only now, in this context that we hear concerns from within Hollywood about the impact of the material it produces?

    Hollywood cannot have it both ways.  It is intellectually dishonest to decry the impact of one film for its violence and “glorification of a killer” while streaming enormous amounts of violent content into every living room in the country.   If Hollywood moguls are going to trash a film like American Sniper for “glorifying violence,” then they have every right to do so.  But where is the similar concern about the overwhelming amount of violence on television, night after night?  If Chris Kyle was a “sociopath,” then where is Hollywood’s concern about shows like “Hannibal” and “Dexter?”

    You’ll be hard pressed to find it.

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    About

    As Director of Communications and Public Policy for the Parents Television Council, Dan Isett is responsible for advancing the PTC’s mission to federal, state and local elected and appointed officials, as well as the Federal Communications Commission.

    17 Responses to Is Hollywood being hypocritical?

    1. Bill Amberman
      January 23, 2015 at 6:52 am

      Hollywood considers sex and violence perfect examples of “free speech” and “pushing the envelope”. When it comes to politics, however, they limit their liberalism to matters of their choosing. Hence, sex and violence in civil society is perfectly OK, but violence in the military is brutal and unacceptable. You can’t have it both ways, guys. Maybe the Taliban or ISIS would more accepting of their beliefs.

    2. Jack
      January 23, 2015 at 7:06 am

      American Sniper was realistic. Hollywood makes so many movies and TV films that are full of violence.
      If they are going to make the violent movies then don’t be critical of violent movies.
      American Sniper paid homage to a real American Hero.

    3. Darla Huddleston
      January 23, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Of course it’s hypocritical. Where is their criticism of 50 Shades of Gray which glorifies violence and degradation of women?

    4. Norma
      January 23, 2015 at 7:51 am

      Unbelievable hypocrisy from Hollywood! “American Sniper” was a chronicle of war, true story! Very tastefully done with no more violence than on the nightly news. It was not some trumped up, gratuitously violent,graphic, fictional story as are most of the Hollywood and television movies and series. One of the best movies to be made in a long, long, time. Fantastic job, Clint!

      • Norma
        January 23, 2015 at 7:54 am

        Callous hypocrisy is right!

    5. James Cox
      January 23, 2015 at 8:10 am

      I view most Hollywood types as those who never matured past the “lets pretend” stage and don’t hold them in high esteem as some do. I take all they say with a block of salt. A grain would be way too small. This reminds me of the scripture verse “let him without sin cast the first stone”. Nothing more needs said.

    6. Anita
      January 23, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Instead of lifting up the human spirit, Hollywood seems bent on glorifying the basest actions of humans. Yes, I agree there’s a disconnect between the violence in one film, what is sent into our homes daily, and Hollywood’s attitude toward both. We have laws that were written to protect our people from viewing such violence. Everyone who cares needs to demand these laws are enforced.

    7. Andrew
      January 23, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Re: Critics of American Sniper

      Did these critics speak out about the drug dealing, meth-creating Walter White of “Breaking Bad?”  Have these critics not seen the impact of the sociopathic Hannibal Lecter shown on NBC?  What about the serial killer Dexter, which aired for years on Showtime and even CBS for a time?  Were these critics not around when “Sons of Anarchy” featured some of the most intense violence and graphic sex ever put on television? Not to mention “Criminal Minds” (50+ acts of violence per episode) “Revolution” (90+ acts of violence per episode) “The Walking Dead” (135+ acts of violence per hour). Do these critics speak out when innocent children are exposed every day to other shows and movies glorifying graphic violence, teen sex and homosexuality? How hypocritical and WRONG.

    8. Rebecca
      January 23, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Re: Critics of American Sniper

      Did they speak out about the drugs, drug dealers, serial killers, intense violence and graphic sex on the following shows: “Breaking Bad”; Hannibal Lecter on NBC; Dexter, “Sons of Anarchy” , “Criminal Minds”, “Revolution” or “The Walking Dead”? What about other shows or movies with graphic violence, teen sex and homosexuality to which our children are exposed every day?

    9. Ann Moore
      January 23, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Amen and amen! There is no one who can beat Hollywood for blatant hypocrisy. How can they not see the hypocrisy when it is so obvious that no one could possibly miss it. Please share your commentary everywhere and anywhere you can put it. I wish you could blast your and my outrage against Hollywood from the rooftops all over the country.

    10. Barbara
      January 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Yes! They are always hypocritical.

    11. Catherine Huet-Smith
      January 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Absolutely there is a hypocritical view!

    12. Jim
      January 23, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      War is violent! The movie tried to accurately portray war. Thank God for people like Chris Kyle who risk their lives to protect us from psychopathic, EVIL people! as he said in the movie, he was trying to protect his comrades in arms! I agree with all the comments about “Breaking Bad”, “Hannibal”, “Dexter” and similar programs that actually DO glorify violence and evil behavior!! Who listens to these “critic” jerks, anyway??!!??

    13. I.G. Romov
      January 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      After thinking it over, I’ve concluded that NO, Hollywood is NOT being hypocritical. It’s far worse than that. Hollywood is, basically, an anti-American, leftist liberal wannabe brain wash tank (of course, there are some actors and even a couple of films that manage to exist in the morass). Seen in this light, their behavior is anything buy hypocritical. Consider: Moore’s twisting of honest people’s interviews to bolster “his view” of 9/11; Liam Neeson who has guns blazing in many of his films decrying guns (in other words, I can have a gun my way but you can’t); and now American Sniper (an American hero). Hollywood has always had a leftward tilt and, while I admit I don’t know great details about HUAC, the question “Are you now or have you ever been, a member of the communist party?” was a reasonable question as was the attempt to find out just who were communist supporters. Thus, I find their behavior totally consistent because it has, as its focus, a specific political and social orientation and it most often ain’t a good old fashioned John Wayne American one.

    14. Dave
      January 23, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Two popular movies that included significant sniper elements were Enemy at the Gates and Finding Private Ryan. No complaints on these. Great blog post on this at http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/396690/snipers-correct-and-incorrect-victor-davis-hanson

    15. Judy
      January 25, 2015 at 9:50 am

      James Stewart, actor, and was a general in the Airforce, in true life! John Wayne played in a lot of war movies, back in that time, people were Proud of our military as they should be. Audrey Murphey was a War hero he had more medals than anyone of that time! He was also an actor. Now we have these Stupid morons in Hollywood, sorry for the word calling, but for ever more, it is plain nuts. Sorry, there are other actors who fought in the war and my mine is blank on this right now. God bless our military and everyone who sticks up for the people who fight to keep us safe. Sure is NOT Obama.

    16. Barney McNeill
      January 28, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      I know everybody is talking about violence of trhis movie, but what about the language! Kids see this and they think it’s ‘cool” and they’ll start talking that way. I’m sure that’s the way they talk in the military, but I don’t like it.

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