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Universal Cancels “The Hunt” After Mass Shootings in Ohio and Texas

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  • Following recent mass shootings in the U.S., Universal Pictures canceled the release of The Hunt, a movie where “liberal elites” hunt mostly Southern people from conservative states for sport.
  • President Donald Trump criticized the project on Twitter without naming it, saying “Liberal Hollywood is Racist,” and adding that the movie was created to “inflame and cause chaos.”
  • Many echoed concerns that the film promotes politically charged violence, but others said the canceling of a movie is less important than passing gun reform laws.

Universal Cancels The Hunt

Universal Pictures canceled the release of The Hunt on Saturday, saying “now is not the right time to release this film” after two mass shootings have increased political tensions across the country.

The Blumhouse film, starring Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, and Emma Roberts was set to release on September 27. It was co-written by Damon Lindelof, who helped create shows like Lost and The Leftovers.

The trailer opens with Gilpin’s character walking into a gas station and killing the owners after they try to shoot her when she tells them she doesn’t know where she is. From there, Gilpin’s character learns she has been kidnapped and must survive while being hunted by a mysterious group of people.

The film frames itself as a satirical take on the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” and presents mostly white, working-class people from conservative states as the prey of “liberal elite” hunters who are killing them for sport.

“Your idea is incredible,” a male elite says in the film’s trailer.

“I can’t argue with that,” Swank’s character tells him. “We pay for everything, so this country belongs to us.” 

“It’s just business: hunting human beings for sport,” the man says.

“They’re not human beings,” Swank’s character responds before laughing.

Characters in the film also refer to the people being hunted as “deplorables,” a reference to a statement made by then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

“You know, to just be grossly realistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call a basket of deplorables,” Clinton said.

During development, the movie went under the working title Red State, Blue State.

Critics of the project said the movie stokes the current U.S. political divide with violence Before universal announced the movie’s cancellation, President Donald Trump agreed with that sentiment and denounced the movie.

The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos,” Trump tweeted. “[Liberal Hollywood] create[s] their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!

Universal’s Official Statement

The cancellation follows Universal’s decision to scrap promotional marketing only a week after releasing the trailer at the end of July. The trailer has since been deleted from the studio’s YouTube channel, but versions still exist online. The move also comes about a week after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the film’s website reads. “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

“I fully support the decision by Universal and the filmmakers regarding ‘The Hunt.’ It is a choice that I also personally felt was necessary,” Swank told USA Today after the cancellation. “I can’t comprehend the violence happening in our country right now. We should all focus on healing, and above all else, kindness, sensitivity and humanity.”

Universal hasn’t announced any plans to release the movie at a later date or in another way, though the cancellation has drawn parallels to The Interview, where James Franco and Seth Rogen infiltrate North Korea to kill Kim Jong-un. The film was similarly canceled back in 2014 after pressure from North Korea but is now available online for rent or purchase.

Responses

Following the cancellation, many still shared their concerns about the content depicted in the film, saying that violence does not mean satire.

Singer Charlie Daniels also referenced the belief that violent films and video games, in part, are connected to the increase in mass shootings across the country.

Actor Russell Crowe and others pushed back in different ways, saying that canceling a movie won’t solve gun-related issues the country already faces.

While I commend Universal and Blumhouse for their humanity,” the actor said. “This is not the solution.”

Crowe also tweeted that “any adult can still buy a military grade semi-automatic rifle.” While many adults can buy semi-automatic rifles, most can not access their military-grade variants.

Others still echoed similar thoughts.

See what others are saying: (Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline) (Washington Post)

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Sean Spicer Defends His Participation in Dancing with the Stars After Backlash

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  • Critics are using #BoycottDWTS online after Dancing with the Stars announced former Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer as a contestant on its 28th season.
  • Host Tom Bergeron also criticized the casting, saying he stressed not including any political figures during a meeting with the ABC show’s executive producer.
  • However, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, who will also appear on the season, defended Spicer, telling Access that he looked forward to respectful conversations with him.

Spicer on DWTS

Former Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer is responding to those critical of his participation in the upcoming 28th season of Dancing with the Stars after #BoycottDWTS began trending online.

“I am very happy with who I am and who I support,” Spicer said in an interview with CNN. “I’m not changing. I am giving people another opportunity to see a side of me that is different.”

Spicer also defended his appearance, calling the show entertainment and not news. “If people are looking for news, I suggest they tune into a news program,” he told CNN.

“It will make this show an example of how Americans can disagree about politics and tune into good entertainment shows and keep their politics at bay,” he told US Weekly in a statement.

On Wednesday, Good Morning America revealed the cast, which includes Christie Brinkley, Ally Brooke from Fifth Harmony, Kate Flannery from The Office, and Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown. Spicer will reportedly make six figures while on the show.

Before passing the position to Sarah Sanders, Spicer’s tenure as press secretary was embroiled in controversy. Following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Spicer claimed it was the largest crowd to ever show up at a presidential inauguration.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” he said in a press conference

That claim was heavily disputed, and after he left the position, he later said he regretted making the comment.

Spicer also received criticism for comments about Hitler in relation to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

“You look, we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” he said in a different press conference. “Someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” 

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Nazi soldiers under the command of Adolf Hitler killed millions of people using gas chambers.

While Spicer’s new appearance is also generating controversy, he is not the first political figure to appear on Dancing with the Stars. Fox News host Tucker Carlson competed in season 3. Former U.S. Representative Tom DeLay and now-Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also competed in different seasons.

More political figures connected to Trump such as Anthony Scaramucci and Omarosa also competed on other shows like Big Brother.

Host and Castmate Reaction 

Hours after Spicer’s casting was revealed, host Tom Bergeron jumped into the mix by criticizing the choice to cast a political figure. 

“A few months ago, during a lunch with DWTS’ new executive producer, I offered suggestions for season 28,” he said on Twitter. “Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations. I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.”

“Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.'”

“For me, as host,” he continued. “I always gaze into the camera’s lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two-hour escape from whatever life hassles you’ve been wrestling with. That’s a connection, and a responsibility, which I take very seriously.”

Castmate Karamo Brown, however, said he looks forward to having respectful conversations with Spicer. 

Sean Spicer and I have been talking,” he said in an interview with Access Online. “I was most excited to meet him because the thing is, people would look at us and think that we’re polar opposites, but I’m a big believer that if you can talk to someone and meet in the middle, you can learn about each other each other both grow, and so, we have been chatting all day today. He’s a good guy, really sweet guy.”

Online Response and Boycott Culture

Many online directed their criticism at Dancing with the Stars and its network ABC for deciding to cast Spicer, with some calling for a boycott of the show.

“Let @ABCNetwork know that paying Sean Spicer a reported six-figure salary to appear on @DancingABC is a hard pass from loyal viewers,” one person tweeted. “We will not be tuning in this season if he remains on the lineup.”

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Many of those people who are urging for a boycott of the show said they are scared to normalize a political figure who, at times, provided misinformation to journalists.

“Shame on you ABC,” one person tweeted. “By having Sean Spicer on DWTS, you are helping to normalize a behavior, ie lying, that is helping to tear down our democracy.”

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Meanwhile, others have called the situation the latest trend in a series of calls for people to boycott media, including hashtags like #BoycottMulan and #BoycottSony that trended earlier this week.

See what others are saying: (Fox News) (Vanity Fair) (LA Times)

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MTV’s New Series “Ghosted” Draws Backlash for Promoting Stalking

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  • MTV released a first look at its new docu-series Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, which focuses on helping people track down and confront those who have abruptly cut off contact with them.
  • Viewers are blasting the show as toxic and dangerous, even saying it encourages stalking. 
  • Others said MTV’s Catfish is similar, yet did not face as much backlash, and argued that participants would have both had to agree to take part in this show ahead of filming.

New Series 

MTV released a first look at its latest docu-series Ghosted: Love Gone Missing on Tuesday, which is already being slammed by social media users who say it promotes stalking.

The Catfish-style show, which is set to premiere on Sept. 10, is hosted by The Bachelorette’s Rachel Lindsay and singer turned actor Travis Mills, who help people track down someone who has “ghosted” them. For the lucky ones who aren’t familiar with the term, “ghosting” is a common strategy used to end a relationship which involves one person abruptly cutting off all communication without explanation.

“Have you ever been ghosted? Totally left in the dark by someone you care about? No text. No DMs. Nothing,” Mills says in the dramatic first look, as the show’s participants describe their experiences being blocked or ignored. 

“We’re traveling the country looking for love gone missing,” Lindsay adds. The two hosts apparently “investigate” what went on between the pair and “follow every lead to track down the ghost.” They then convince them to sit down for a face-to-face meeting with the person they’ve been ignoring. 

Backlash 

After watching the MTV clip, several viewers took to social media to express concerns over the show’s premise, arguing that it crosses a line and essentially encourages stalking. Some even pointed out that people often have good reasons for ignoring someone rather than explicitly ending their relationship. 

“Trying to ‘track down’ the person that ghosted you, is stalking,” one user wrote.

Another user wrote, “Imagine ghosting someone because they were toxic or even HARMFUL and these idiots track you down with said person!!! THE TRAUMA!!!!”

People Will Still Watch 

MTV has not addressed any of the criticism, but loads of people are still excited to watch, including people who are concerned about the concept.

Others have said there is no real issue since both participants would have had to agree to be featured on the series beforehand.

Meanwhile, others have argued that MTV’s Catfish operates on a similar premise but did not receive the same backlash.

“On Catfish, they look up personal info, collect data, call people who might know said person and show up at their door with a camera to expose them. They already promote stalker behavior,” one user wrote.

See what others are saying: (Elle) (Entertainment Tonight) (Independent

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JAWS, Shark Week, & SharkFest: How Hollywood Demonized Sharks and Shaped Our Perceptions…

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When most of us think of sharks, we think of defining features, like teeth. We also think of Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, and any other shark movie that ends with pretty much one person making it to the end of the film.

Sharks make for good entertainment, which is why, over the years, they’ve arguably become Hollywood’s favorite man-eaters. It’s no question that the film industry and media in general have played a huge role in how we perceive these animals, especially when it comes to Great White Sharks. But as you’ll see in this video, that perception is off-base and actually a little unfair.

In this video, we examine the role that films and television programs like Shark Week and SharkFest play in shaping our perceptions and how much of what we see on TV is actually based on scientific evidence. You’ll hear from marine biologists and conservationists about their ongoing efforts to battle negative perceptions and ensure that one of the oldest living creatures on the plant doesn’t die out. Watch the video for the full story.

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