- 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.
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)
Chrissy Teigen Apologizes To Courtney Stodden Following Backlash Over Old Tweets
- In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Courtney Stodden, who gained tabloid attention a decade ago after marrying 51-year-old Doug Hutchison at the age of 16, said model Chrissy Teigen “would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself.”
- The direct messages have not been verified but Internet users dug up old tweets Teigen posted telling Stodden to take a “dirt nap.”
- Many called Teigen out for harassing a then-teenager and telling them to die, especially since Teigen has been vocal about her own experiences with online hate, which prompted her to temporarily leave Twitter earlier this year.
- On Wednesday, Teigen apologized to Stodden and said she was “ashamed and completely embarrassed” by her past remarks.
Courtney Stodden Speaks Out
Model and television personality Chrissy Teigen apologized on Wednesday for old comments she allegedly made 10 years ago, encouraging then-teenager Courtney Stodden to kill themself.
In a profile by The Daily Beast, Stodden (who uses they/them pronouns) accused Teigen of sending them messages encouraging suicide.
“She wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take ‘a dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself,” Stoddon told The Daily Beast, referring to Teigen. “Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.’”
Teigen became a trending topic on Tuesday as people began sharing the article. Now, she is finally addressing the controversy.
“Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be held accountable for all their past bullshit in front of the entire world,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll. I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel.”
Stodden made headlines in 2011 after marrying 51-year-old Doug Hutchison at the age of 16. The couple has since divorced, but at the time of their marriage, their relationship was the subject of incessant tabloid coverage. Rather than show concern for Stodden’s situation as a victim of grooming, the media and public shamed and ridiculed them relentlessly.
Teigen was one of many stars that Stodden said used to mock them. Stodden told The Daily Beast that “The View “co-host Joy Behar referred to them as a “slut” and musician Courtney Love called them a “whore.” They also claimed that of all the celebrities to use such harsh language, the only one to apologize since is Perez Hilton.
Chrissy Teigen Faces Backlash
While the direct messages Teigen allegedly sent have not been verified, several Twitter users recovered and shared old tweets Teigen posted at the height of Stodden’s fame. In one, Teigen says her “fantasy” would be for Stodden to take “a dirt nap.” In another, she told Stodden to “go to sleep forever.”
Many called the star out for bullying a 16-year-old.
“Chrissy Teigen tried to bully a 16yo abuse victim into suicide?” one person wrote. “This is so much more than ‘oh she’s annoying on twitter’ she’s a fucking monster.”
Some claimed that her tweets should be considered a violation of Twitter’s terms of service. Others noted that earlier this year, Teigen temporarily left Twitter, citing copious amounts of online hate. Some found it hypocritical that she previously incited that same hate, then left the platform when it was being directed towards her.
“I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am,” Teigen continued on Wednesday, adding that she wants to constantly work to be a better person.
See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (The Daily Beast) (A.V. Club)
Ellen DeGeneres Announces End of Her Daytime Talk Show
- In a Hollywood Reporter interview published Wednesday, Ellen DeGeneres revealed that she is ending her talk show after its upcoming 19th season.
- Many believe the decision came in response to toxic workplace allegations the host and her show faced last summer, but DeGeneres said the plans were in motion far before that because the show is no longer challenging enough for her.
- Staffers were notified of the decision Tuesday and DeGeneres will discuss the news on Wednesday’s episode of her show with Oprah Winfrey, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ellen DeGeneres Show To End With Season 19
Ellen DeGeneres is officially pulling the plug on her daytime talk show.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian and host announced that her upcoming 19th season will be her last. She informed staff of the decision Tuesday and will discuss the news on Wednesday’s episode of her show with Oprah Winfrey.
“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres said when explaining the reasoning behind her choice to end the show.
People on social media have, of course, taken issue with that statement. Many noted that the decision comes now that DeGeneres has fallen out of much of the public’s favor.
Last summer, several people made claims about DeGeneres’ alleged cold or rude demeanor as others began criticizing her old interviews. Buzzfeed then published a report with allegations of a toxic workplace culture, which included sexual harassment, racism, and intimidation claims, among other things.
Plans Were in Motion for Some Time, DeGeneres Said
Still, DeGeneres said ending the show now was always the plan. She actually said she wanted to stop after Season 16, and her wife Portia de Rossi had also been urging her to move on.
Executives behind the show, however, pushed for four additional year and they ultimately settled on three, with DeGeneres knowing that season 19 would be her last.
In the article, she specifically addresses the summer allegations saying, “It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping.
She also framed the claims about her character as “ridiculous,” saying they attacked everything she stands for and destroyed her.
As far as the toxic workplace allegations, DeGeneres said she learned of them through the press and didn’t want to believe them at first.
“So, there was an internal investigation, obviously, and we learned some things but this culture we’re living is [is one where] no one can make mistakes,” she added.
“And I don’t want to generalize because there are some bad people out there and those people shouldn’t work again but, in general, the culture today is one where you can’t learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we’re here to do. And I can see people looking at that going, ‘You don’t care about what people [went through.]’ I care tremendously. It broke my heart when I learned that people here had anything other than a fantastic experience.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (Fox News)
Seth Rogen Says He Has No Plans To Work With James Franco “Right Now” Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations
- In an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, actor Seth Rogen was asked about his relationship with longtime collaborator James Franco, who has been accused of misconduct and sexually exploitative behavior by multiple women.
- In response to claims that Rogen was Franco’s enabler, he said, “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment, and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.
- He also expressed regret over a 2014 joke he made on “Saturday Night Live,” which many felt trivialized Franco’s inappropriate communication with a 17-year-old.
- “I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now,” he added.
Seth Rogen Addresses James Franco Controversies
Actor and comedian Seth Rogen was asked about his relationship with fellow film star James Franco in a new interview with Britain’s Sunday Times.
Franco and Rogen are friends and longtime collaborators who’ve done hit films together, including “Pineapple Express,” “The Disaster Artist,” “The Interview,” and “Sausage Party,” among others.
In 2014, Franco was exposed for trying to pick up a 17-year-old through Instagram direct messages. In 2018, five women publicly accused him of inappropriate and sexually exploitative behavior, which he denied. Two of those women, who were students at an acting school he ran, then filed a lawsuit against him and agreed to a settlement this year.
Throughout these controversies, Rogen has faced a ton of backlash for continuing to show Franco support.
Last month, actress Charlyne Yi took to Instagram to open up about her experience working on “The Disaster Artist,” accusing Franco of being a “predator” and Rogen of being his “enabler.”
When asked about that specific claim, Rogen said, “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment, and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.”
No Current Plans To Work Together
Rogen also expressed regret over a 2014 joke he made on “Saturday Night Live,” which many felt trivialized Franco’s inappropriate communication with the 17-year-old.
“It was a terrible joke, honestly. And I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now,” he continued.
When asked how Franco’s scandals have impacted their relationship, Rogen said, “I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”
Still, he noted that changes are “not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved. I have no pity for myself in this situation.