With our country still reeling from the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed a total of 31 people and injured dozens more, Donald Trump apparently believes it’s not guns that are “very dangerous for our country,” but movies.
Instead of addressing a reporter’s question on the South Lawn last Friday about conservatives being banned on Twitter, the president came up with a non sequitur blasting showbiz. “Hollywood is really terrible,” he told reporters. “You talk about racism. Hollywood is racist. What they’re doing with the kind of movies they’re putting out, it’s actually very dangerous for our country.”
Later that day, he tweeted something that seemed to be directed toward Universal’s planned thriller, “The Hunt,” in which rural white conservatives are targeted for death by a group of liberal elites. “The movie coming out is made in order … to inflame and cause chaos,” he said. This past weekend, Universal pulled the movie from its Sept. 27 release date (and hopefully forever), but by no means was it in response to the president’s remarks, as some publications suggested.
I agree with our chief film critic Owen Gleiberman, who wrote in his Aug. 11 column that Universal appears to have made the call for the right reasons. “In the wake of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, any film that serves up, as megaplex escapism, the spectacle of Americans ritually shooting other Americans feels like the wrong movie at the wrong time.”
He went on to speculate that the studio was likely sensitive to the fact that the El Paso shooting, “in its overtly articulated white-supremacist underpinnings, may, at long last, have marked a tipping point in the national dialogue about gun laws.”
Of course Trump, who’s in bed with the NRA, immediately blamed Hollywood’s violent movies and video games for the recent massacres, rather than pushing for stricter gun laws banning the semiautomatic weapons used in these killings. Last year, he said the same thing after 17 students and staff members were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
He can tell that to all those living in fear of the next mass shooting.